Govt seeks stakeholders’ assistance in tackling Lassa Fever

By Kemi Olatunde
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In its effort to tackle Lassa Fever headlong, the Ondo State Government has sought the assistance of stakeholders.

The Commissioner for Health, Dr Wahab Adegbenro sought this assistance at an emergency stakeholders meeting held in Akure.

According to him, Lassa Fever is now endemic in the state and it  calls for serious combined effort of stakeholders as the state cannot bear the burden alone.

He disclosed that the treatment of a Lassa patient costs at least N1.2m which he said is beyond what the State Government alone can handle considering the number of people infected. Hence he has called on Chairmen of affected Local Government Areas, security agencies, development Partners and other stakeholders to brainstorm and come up with strategies to tackle it and put it permanently at bay.

The Health Commissioner who disclosed that  the Emergency Operating Center (EOC) was inaugurated the previous day and an Epidemiologist appointment, commended the National Center for Disease Control and other Development Partner for their efforts at putting the outbreak under control.

Adegbenro appealed to security agencies to ensure people adhere to rulers and regulations of operations as rights of individuals are suspended during outbreak.

He called on residents of the state to maintain personal and environmental hygiene, keep their foods covered in containers, eliminate rats around them and visit the hospital immediately they notice any feverish condition.

The Health Commissioner enjoined Health Workers to embrace universal protection and take serious precaution when attending to patients so that they do not become victims.

Presenting a situation report,  the State Epidemiologist, Dr Stephen Fagbemi said there was a war against Lassa Fever and the state should be in a war mood.

He recalled that about 27  States were affected with Lassa last year and Ondo and Edo topped the list as they accounted for about 80 percent of those affected including mortality.

Dr Fagbemi also notified the house that while the state is still grappling with the issue of Lassa, there is also out break of Yellow Fever in the state.

Dr Olalekan Ojo of the Federal Medical Center Owo said the State is seeing more Lassa patients than any other states of the federation and the whole budget of the state cannot cover the eradication of the disease.

The Team Lead National Center for Disease Control, Dr Gbenga Akinbiyi said due to the deadly nature of  Lassa, it needs the  combined concerted efforts of stakeholders while promising the support of NCDC to curtail the outbreak.

The Chairman Akoko S/W, Mr Oloruntegbe Augustine who spoke on behalf of other local government chairmen promised that he and his colleagues would explore all avenues to get funds to support the fight, ensure environmental sanitation and carry out sensitisation in their domains.

The State Chairman Nigeria Medical Association, Dr Olawale Oke commiserated with families of those who lost their relatives to Lassa, urging the government to declare a state of emergency in the  health sector.

The General Manager Waste Management Board, Mrs Bola Akinyanmi complained that  most  Local government areas do not have dumpsite making waste disposal in those areas difficult and embarrassing.

The Acting Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health, Dr Dipo Durojaye lent his voice to solving  the problem of waste disposal and change of attitude of our people. The information industry and environment should be at the forefront of the campaign.