Governor Obaseki is leading the fight against lassa fever by example by approving the purchase of sets of dialysis machines and other equipment associated with Lassa fever. Governor Obaseki recently invested in diagnostics to easily, accurately and safely test for Lassa fever as we do for malaria and HIV. Without a proper diagnosis, many people do not receive the correct treatment and that is why we see so many people with Lassa fever dying each year.” Governor Obaseki has supported in developing national prevention strategies and enhancing laboratory diagnostics for Lassa fever. He has provided new laboratory diagnosis equipment; enhance clinical management, and environmental control dedicated to the care of patients with Lassa fever
Obaseki has laid emphasis on:
Setting up quarantine units in affected areas to isolate and treat patients.
Creating contact tracing systems to find those who might have been exposed to the disease.
Mobilizing a network of community health workers across the country to monitor the contacts.
Repositioning and providing Ribavirin, in affected areas, including distributing personal protection equipment and other medical supplies.
Sharing information across borders.
Nigerians were indeed jolted when the news of a fresh outbreak of Lassa fever was broken by the Federal Ministry of Health about seven weeks ago. Many were further worried at the revelation that the disease, which had spread into 12 states including Edo, Taraba, Borno, Gombe, Yobe, Plateau, Nassarawa, Ebonyi, Ondo, Rivers, Anambra and Lagos States, was being transmitted through a species of bush rats.
At the last count, the government disclosed that hospital records showed that over 40 lives had been lost to the disease which had assumed epidemic proportions with over 400 persons already infected. Edo and Taraba topped the list of states with the highest casualty figures while about 50 million Nigerians are believed to be at risk from the disease which is even killing doctors and nurses.
There are only two laboratories in the country have the capacity to screen blood for Lassa fever and these are the Irrua Specialist Hospital in Irrua, Edo State and the Central Medical Laboratory at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), though the Minister of Health said there are nine specialist centres across Nigeria where tests on Lassa fever can be done.
Under Governor Obaseki, the awareness and sensitisation on the disease have increased in the past two weeks with state and local governments leading the vanguard by sensitising their people on the need to keep a clean environment.
Obaseki has sustained the increased tempo of awareness and action on the disease. He said aside the two functional laboratories, the federal government was in the process of strengthening seven other laboratories across the geo-political zones to tackle the disease.
The Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has ordered the immediate release of N100 million as first tranche payment for the procurement of four dialysis machines, ventilators, Personal Protective Equipment, drugs and other consumables required for the treatment of Lassa Fever patients. Obaseki’s order followed report of the rising number of Lassa Fever patients brought from across the country to the Institute of Lassa Fever Research and Control, in Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH), Edo State, the only specialist facility for the treatment of the disease in Nigeria and the West Africa sub-region.
The governor directed his commissioner for Health, Dr. David Osifo to deliver the equipment within twenty four hours and make them available for use at the hospital, while tasking the Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr Crusoe Osagie and the Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Hon. Paul Ohonbamu, to intensify Lassa Fever awareness campaign in all nook and cranny of the state.
Edo State Government as part of its proactive measures to curtail the spread of the disease in the state, reactivated its Rapid Response Team and commenced contact tracing for confirmed cases of the disease. The state government is also working closely with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for case management and disease surveillance.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr. David Osifo, said that the state government prevention and control of Lassa Fever is multisectoral involving the Ministries of Health, Environment, Agriculture, Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs and Information, who are working together to put measures in place that will stop the further spread of the current outbreak.”
Edo State and some other parts of the country are currently experiencing the outbreak of Lassa Fever with significant proportion of the Local Government Areas in Edo Central and Edo North senatorial districts of the state already involved in the outbreak while the others are at risk of being affected.
I think I can say now that the Edo State government has swung into action, we are likely to see the epidemic controlled. They even provided contact telephone numbers to call in case of emergencies. If these epidemics are caused by ‘new’ agents, one may excuse the performance of the government. Now is the time for the government to put in place permanent structures to help minimise the devastation caused by endemic diseases, so we do not have a repeat of the current situation.
Governor Obaseki has assured Nigerians of his government’s promptness to stalk further spread of the bleeding fever now confirmed by laboratories to be Lassa Fever Disease. According to him, “the public is hereby assured that the government and its partners, and other stakeholders are working tirelessly to address the outbreak of Lassa fever in the country and bring it to timely end.” He elucidated that “in response to these reported outbreaks, the Edo Ministry of Health has taken the following measures to curtail further spread and reduce mortality among those affected: Immediate release of adequate quantities of ribavirin, the specific antiviral drug for Lassa fever to all the affected states for prompt and adequate treatment of cases, assisting the affected people in investigating and verifying the cases as well as tracing of contacts, mobilizing and sensitizing clinicians and relevant healthcare workers in areas of patient management and care in the affected local councils.”
Inwalomhe Donald writes from Benin City email@example.com