FCT to Restrict POS Operators, Moves against Spread of Diphtheria

Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja

The Federal Capital Territory’s (FCT) executive committee has directed the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC) to restrict the activities of the Point of Sales (POS) operators in the FCT to commercial areas only because of security concerns.

The FCT’s executive committee, which was presided over by the FCT Minister, Mr. Muhammed Musa Bello, took the decision at its meeting in Gwarimpa, Abuja.

The committee said that POS operators are commercial enterprises that should be conducted only in designated commercial areas.

It noted that apart from the security implications, the activities of POS operators were also constituting environmental nuisance as they serve to attract other commercial activities, thereby generating uncontrolled waste.

It reiterated the importance the present leadership of the FCT administration placed on the security and well-being of the residents and assured that it would take every necessary measure to protect Nigerians and visitors residing in Abuja.

It also directed that all necessary preemptive measures should be taken by relevant health agencies in the FCT against the emergence of Diphtheria.

It urged the Health and Human Services Secretariat of the FCTA to ensure an increased surveillance and awareness creation and sensitisation by all its relevant agencies in order to curb the risk of the deadly childhood disease from emerging and spreading within the territory.

It urged the FCT Health and Human Services Secretariat to liaise with the Area Council Services Secretariat, as well as the Chairmen of the six area councils to immediately convene an emergency meeting with relevant technical partners and work out modalities to effectively confront the disease should it rear its ugly head in the FCT.

Diphtheria is a bacterial infection caused by organism known as corynebacterium diphtheria, which affect the throat, nose and sometimes, skin of unvaccinated children and rarely adults with poor immunity. The symptoms of the disease also include fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough, red eyes, neck swelling, and difficulty in breathing.

It spreads through direct contact with infected people, droplets from coughing or sneezing and contact with contaminated clothing and objects, thereby underscoring the importance of hygiene and environmental sanitation in the prevention.

The people most at risk are the unvaccinated and those who live in crowded areas or where there is poor sanitation.

To reduce the risk of contracting the disease, children are expected to get fully vaccinated with three doses of the Pentavalent vaccine as recommended in the national childhood immunisation schedule.

The FCT immunisation coverage currently stands at 83 per cent, against the national average of 57 per cent, though at least 95 per cent of all children are expected to be vaccinated to assure herd immunity, thereby preventing spread.

The meeting enjoined the Health and Human Services Secretariat to galvanise the support of all stakeholders and ensure massive sensitisation of all residents to further minimise the risk of contracting the ailment as cases have been reported in some states around the FCT. 

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