Ondo Govt Seeks Stakeholders Assistance In Tackling Lassa Fever

Commissioner for Health, Ondo state, Dr Wahab Adegbenro


By Abooluwa Famakinwa, Akure

In its effort at tackling Lassa Fever headlong ,the Ondo State Government sought the assistance of stakeholders .

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

Dr Adegbenro opined that Lassa Fever is now endemic in the state and this calls for serious combined effort of stakeholders as the state cannot bear the burden alone.

He disclosed that the treatment of a Lassa patient cost at least N1.2m which 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 is 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% of those affected including mortality.

Dr Fagbemi said one outbreak is an international calamity not to talk of the rate of spread in the state which is alarming, he charged communities to rise up the challenge, take ownership, clear waste in their environment and protect Surveillance Officers.

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

The state Epidemiologist appealed to Media Houses to be at forefront of the campaign and sensitisation as a social responsibility as Lassa is threatening the peace and security of 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 cope.

He added that the Federal Medical Center Owo is over whelmed , lack sufficient manpower to cope and calls for urgent intervention.

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

He added that January 2019 makes it 50years of Lassa Fever outbreak in Nigeria yet the nation has not been able to put in place structure to overcome it.

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

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

Dr Oke urged the government to be at the forefront of the fight, release needed funds so as not to jeopardise the lives of Health Workers and Care Givers as the association will not take it lightly if any Health Worker goes down with Lassa.

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

She said outbreaks have always been treated using curative measures rather than preventive, hence there is always a re occurrence.

Mrs Akinyanmi added that many uncompleted buildings being used as refuse dumps littered the state and this is hazardous thus she charged stakeholders to begin sensitisation from there.

The Acting Permanently 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.

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