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7 Killed, Scores Hospitalised After Measles Epidemic Hits Benakuma 

By Chris Mbunwe

The Ministry of Public Health has been informed of a measles outbreak in Benakuma, Menchum Division of the Northwest Region.

The epidemic has already claimed seven lives and scores of others hospitalised. The population of Benakuma in Menchum Valley Subdivision, that of Menchum Division and the Northwest Region at large is leaving in a state of panic.

Talking to The Post, the Acting District Medical Officer of Benakuma, Dr. Edwin Atunji Fon, said, from two deaths registered, a situation is considered an epidemic, not to talk of five deaths that have already been registered within seven days.

According to him, when some children below nine months were admitted in the hospital and suspected of suffering from measles, their blood samples were collected and sent to Centre Pasteur in Yaounde and the results obtained confirmed three cases of measles.

To Dr. Atunji, children suffering from measles will develop very tiny body rashes, cough, fever, loss of appetite, red eyes with tears, weight loss and joint pains.

The Chief Medical Officer described the nutritional conditions of children in Benakuma and environs as precarious, reasons why, he said, the children are vulnerable to any infection.
“Since these children are not placed on a good diet, they become vulnerable to any disease that attacks them,” he said.

Advising the population to rush with any child that manifests such symptoms to the nearest health centre, Dr. Atunji said they are currently sensitising and encouraging parents to ensure that all the children are vaccinated against the disease.

He said he has been informed by the Gendarmerie Brigade Commander of the neighbouring village of Bahuru that the cases of children suspected with measles in Bahuru have increased.

“We are dispatching a reinforcement team from hospitals in Wum to salvage the situation because we do not have enough medical staff here. What the medical team is carrying out in the field now is what we call responsevaccination, educating the mothers on the need for their children to be placed on balance diet.”