Ghanaian songstress cum songwriter, iOna Reine, known in real life as Mercy Sam, has joined the train to create awareness of the outbreak of monkeypox on social media following Ghana’s five recorded cases of the disease.
iOna, who doubles as a health practitioner, in an interview with BEATWAVES said there has been less education and awareness on the monkeypox disease even though the country has recorded five cases of the virus, a situation she describes as a threat to Ghana’s health system.
“Ghanaians are moving about with no idea of what monkeypox is, this is very sad considering how fast the virus can spread even though WHO said monkeypox is currently assessed as a moderate threat to global health, there is the need to sensitise the ordinary Ghanaian in other to reduce the spread in the country,” she said.
According to the ‘Obra’ hitmaker, she is poised to educate her followers on how to prevent contracting the monkeypox virus using social media and the mass media to create awareness.
“This virus is endemic so I advise travellers to practice caution regarding the monkeypox outbreak. This includes avoiding close contact with people who are sick, avoiding meat from wild animals or game, and seeking medical care immediately if you think you were exposed to monkeypox or have symptoms of it,” she added.
iOna further called on the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye and other individuals in the health sector to resource her campaign to create a nationwide awareness to help reduce the spread.
Monkeypox is a disease caused by an orthopoxvirus, and the virus that causes it belongs to the same family as the viruses that cause smallpox and cowpox. Monkeypox is endemic in West and Central Africa, often in proximity to tropical rainforests, and has been increasingly appearing in urban areas. Animal hosts include a range of rodents and non-human primates.
WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said investigations are ongoing but the sudden appearance of monkeypox in many countries at the same time suggests there may have been undetected transmission for some time.