By Donald Ojebo

The Delta State Government has expressed concern over the mysterious deaths which has claimed not less than 15 lives within the last two weeks in Ute Okpu and Idumesa communities in the State and at the same time assured residents that Government would do everything possible to curb the disease.

The Delta State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Mordi Ononye gave the assurance today when he led a team of public health officials to Ute Okpu in Ika North-East Local Government Area with the view to unravel the mysterious disease that has claimed the lives of over 15 ( fifteen) persons within 18 to 25 years age bracket in the past 2 weeks.

According to the Commissioner, “Delta State Government has received information on seemingly mysterious deaths in Ute Okpu and Idumesa communities of Ika North East Local Government Area of the State which prompted the Governor, His Excellency, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, to direct the State Ministry of Health to immediately investigate these deaths, identify the cause/causes and effect containment measures”.

Dr. Ononye, while informing HRM, the Obi of Ute Okpu, of His Excellency, the Governor’s directive to upgrade the Comprehensive Health Center in Ute -Okpu to a full fledged Hospital, called on members of the community and residents of the State to observe good hygiene as the dry season approaches by properly covering their food, cutting grasses around their surroundings, eliminate rats in their houses and continue to observe the COVID-19 safety guide lines especially hand washing with soap and running water.

On his part, Dr. Richard Ikwuogu, the State Epidemiologist said that his office sent officers to the community immediately the information reached the Ministry of Health, stating that the active case search that commenced the previous day continues.

He added that his team has visited the families of the affected persons in the community and also the case in the hospital in Umunede, collected their samples and interviewed them.

Dr. Ikwogu said that though a suspicion of viral hemorrhagic fever, or substance abuse, the outcome of the test on collected samples will give clear information on the disease and that will determine the next line of action .

HRM Obi Solomon Chukwuka I, Obi of Ute Okpu while welcoming the Health Commissioner and his team to his palace, thanked Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for giving the directive for the health center in his domain to be upgraded.

He expressed relief that government’s intervention through the visit has brought hope to them and assurance that the disease will be curbed.

He assured the Commissioner and his team of the co-operation from him and his subjects and encouraged them to feel free and let him know of any challenge they may come across when interacting with residents of the community.

The Obi prayed and wished them success as they carry our their investigations in the community.

In the Commissioner’s entourage were the Zonal Medical Director Agbor Zone; Zonal Hospital Administrator Agbor; State Epidemiologist; State Disease Surveillance and Notification Officer (DSNO); Executive Secretary, Health Ika North East LGA; Council’s DSNO and Health Educator; two representatives of the World Health Organization (WHO) among others.