It must be unique to Nigeria for a disease that was the subject of front page headlines since January 29th, 2020, as ravaging a part of Benue State to still be a strange disease unknown to medical science nearly a month after. Current statistics such that slightly under 20 have died while more than a hundred are infected by now. Yet, neither the Benue State University Teaching Hospital which is said to be well equipped nor the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, (NCDC) have anything categorical yet beyond that it is neither Lassa Fever nor Coronavirus.
This goes against the ‘early detection, early action’ formula by which health governance works. Imagine the damage by now if Benue State were an industrial or commercial hub and claims of a strange disease has not been refuted or confirmed authoritatively within days.
This is more so that the Oju-Obi axis of the state where the so-called strange disease is ravaging has a history of epidemics. That was where the late 1986/1987 Yellow Fever epidemic took place just as it was, for years, an axis of high degree of Guinea Worm infection. And now the disease so strange as to be unknowable!
For all we know, the figures being bandied about now could be twice more. In the mid 1990s, Opialu Village in Okpokwu Local Government Area suffered an epidemic. No health personnel agreed to go there except Dr Maria Idu then of UNICEF. That was the key reason the Village voted massively for her when she subsequently contested an election. A similar situation could also be the case here.
It should not be the case ANYMORE because epidemics are the nuclear bomb attacks of the 21st century. An epidemic can even wipe out an army. It was because of this the UN declared health an item of international security against the protest of security intellectuals who argued that including items such as health, climate change or cities makes the concept of security to lose meaning.
Can the world hear something more authoritative about the so-called strange disease in Benue State?