LASSA outbreak: ODSG inaugurates response committee

By Chris Chimezie
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Following the reported outbreak of Lassa Fever in Ondo State, Governor,  Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), has inaugurated an Emergency Response Committee that would work assiduously towards flushing out the killer disease from the state

The Committee, chaired by the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Wahab Adegbenro has as its Secretary the General Manager of Ondo State Waste Management Authority, Mrs Bola Akinyanmi.

Other members include; Commissioner for Environment, Mr Funso Esan; Special Adviser to the Governor on Union Matters, Mr Alaba Isijola; Chairman, Caretaker Committee of Owo Local Government Council, Hon Benjamin Adebayo, Acting Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Dipo Durojaye and Managing Director ZL Global Ltd, Dr Abiola Bashorun

Other members are the State Epidemiologist who is the Incident Manager on Lassa Fever Outbreak, Dr. Stephen Fagbemi and the Acting Director, Public Health for the state, Dr Adeusi Victor, while the Commissioner for Education, Science and  Technology, Mr Femi Agagu, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Deaconess Lola Fagbemi and Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr Yemi Olowolabi were co-opted to serve in the committee.

The Committee, charged to begin Operation Flush Out Lassa Fever from the state within the shortest possible time was mandated to aggressively embark on sensitisation campaigns, advocacy visits to Royal Fathers and Religious Leaders and put to use an appropriate dump site for human wastes.

Addressing Government House Reporters after its inaugural meeting held at the Secretariat of Owo Local Government, Owo, Chairman of the Committee, Dr Wahab Adegbenro said the committee was empowered to use all means available to it to checkmate attempts by anyone that may want to inhibit efforts at curtailing the incidences of Lassa Fever in the state.

He said the awareness campaigns would be to sensitise people of the state on the need for residents to keep their environment clean and live hygienic lives at all times so that the primary carrier of the lassa virus which is rat would keep appreciable distance away from people and how to reduce the incidences of human to human transmissions.

Adegbenro stressed the importance of early detection and treatment of Lassa Fever which has symptomatic evidences similar to malaria, so as to avoid its devastating effects like organs and kidney failure which could lead to death.

He further explained that visiting health facilities where appropriate diagnosis would be carried out, rather than administering treatment at home (self-medication) remains the best way to detect the scourge earlier and prevent deaths.

The Commissioner mentioned the symptoms to include; abdominal pains, diarrhea and vomiting with blood stains while muriatic rashes in the body occurs at the advance stage of the disease.

The Committee Chairman who hinted that the dreaded disease spares no one, sought the cooperation and understanding of the public towards kicking the disease out of the state.

He however, appealed to security agencies to ensure that people adhere to rules and regulations of operations as rights of individuals are suspended during outbreak.

At the end of its inaugural meeting, the committee proceeded to identify two different expanses of land of which one would be acquired as dump site for Owo and Ose Local Government Areas.

A committee member who is also the Commissioner for Environment, Mr Funso Esan said an acceptable dump site has to be far away from residential area and must be deep into the bush to prevent getting toxic emissions nearer to the people.