Expert’s Dire Warning: Impending Disease Outbreak Threatens Anambra Community
In a stark warning, Dr. Ejikeme Okonkwo, the Chief Medical Director of Diocesan Hospital in Okpoko, Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State, has sounded the alarm bells about the looming threat of a deadly epidemic in a nearby slum community adjacent to Onitsha. The crux of the matter lies in the abysmal sanitary conditions that prevail in the area.
Dr. Okonkwo, while addressing the media during a two-day free medical outreach program, jointly organized by former Ogbaru Federal Constituency lawmaker Chukwuma Onyema, in partnership with the National Agency for the Control of AIDS and Niphemy Solutions Limited, raised grave concerns. He emphasized that if immediate, concerted efforts are not made to rectify the dire sanitary situation, the residents of this community could find themselves perilously exposed to the scourge of deadly epidemics.
One of the chief concerns highlighted by Dr. Okonkwo was the rapid spread of diseases in this densely populated locale, making epidemics a looming threat. He observed that a substantial number of residents have been presenting cases of malaria and typhoid fever, ailments primarily attributed to the prevalence of stagnant water sources and unsanitary marketplaces that serve as breeding grounds for disease-carrying mosquitoes.
Dr. Okonkwo implored both federal and state authorities to intervene urgently, emphasizing the critical need to safeguard the residents from the impending outbreak of a potentially catastrophic epidemic. He stated, “Malaria and typhoid fever cases were presented by all the beneficiaries; this is due to the filthy environment of the community. Residents of the area need continuous free medical attention.”
These residents, who are economically disadvantaged, often struggle to access medical care independently, as many have refrained from hospital visits for several years, opting instead for chemists and unqualified practitioners. The abysmal state of their environment, as Dr. Okonkwo underscored, is the primary driver of the pervasive cases of malaria and typhoid fever.
The urgency of the situation was unmistakable in Dr. Okonkwo’s plea: “You can see that this place is a slum. Okpoko needs to be cleaned up urgently without further delay to avoid an outbreak of a dangerous epidemic. I don’t know how it could be done, but they need it now to save the people. The Anambra State Government should step in to clean up the place and plan it in such a way that their stagnant gutters can flow freely. Their markets should also be cleaned up and sanitized so they can face only nutrition problems. They are complaining about feeding, which is also a problem, and they need assistance.”
As the community teeters on the precipice of a potential health catastrophe, it is incumbent upon government authorities to heed this impassioned call for immediate intervention and redress the perilous living conditions in Okpoko before disaster strikes.