The Enugu Commissioner for Health, Emmanuel Ikechukwu Obi on Thursday faulted the failure of communities to report irregular health symptoms as cases of strange illnesses in the state persists.
“The issues of health-seeking behaviour are real,” he said while appearing on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily. “We have an emergency reporting network that has to deal with the health system.
“If people do not report to healthcare systems in the primary healthcare facilities at least, it becomes difficult for infectious diseases surveillance and response to be initiated.
“People stay away from hospitals, thinking that they will get better care from herbalists and from patent medicine vendors sometimes.”
Deaths resulting from a strange illness have been reported in Delta and Enugu states this month.
Yellow Fever has been identified as the most likely candidate, authorities have said.
Commissioner for Health in Delta State, Mordi Ononye, on Thursday also blamed the lack of communication between local communities and the government health system for the deaths.
“There was some resistance from some of the communities who felt the issues were not medical” when a response team from the Delta government was despatched, Ononye said.
“It wasn’t the fault of the medical system but issues that have to do with the belief system.”
Obi on Thursday was elusive about the number of strange deaths recorded in Enugu, although he admitted that it was “a large number of deaths.”
“We are still calling them deaths from probable cases of Yellow fever,” he said.
“We can only confirm two deaths from Yellow Fever. And we have confirmed 19 cases of Yellow Fever, based on the PCR diagnosis.
“The report of strange deaths are ongoing. It is very likely that a lot of the deaths reported may have been from Yellow fever.”