Lassa fever kills three in Imo, Enugu NMA seeks enlightenment in South East


• Bayelsa allays fear of disease outbreak, partners World Bank, FG
• Ondo citizens accuse government of negligence

The Imo State Government and the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) yesterday confirmed that three persons have died from Lassa fever in the state.

Consequently, the state have put measures in place to ensure that those who were in contact with the diagnosed patients were identified in a bid to stop the disease from further spreading.

Governor Rochas Okorocha confirmed the deaths while briefing journalists on the development in Owerri, saying the state government has embarked on pro-active measures to check the scourge.

Commissioner for Health, Angela Uwakwe and Vice Chairman of the state branch of NMA, Victor Eche, in separate statements explained efforts made to save the victims before they died.

Okorocha said: “We are concerned about the speed of spread. These cases were recorded in some hospitals somewhere in Orlu and some other parts of the state.

“For this reason, we kindly advise that people should avoid over crowded areas, lessen the shaking of hands and body contacts at this period.”

Speaking, Eche disclosed that the NMA identified and confirmed the disease by affected persons after tests were done, urging members of the public to be vigilant and adopt precautionary measures to check its spread.

In a related development, the South East caucus of the NMA has asked state governments in the zone to institute yearly enlightenment programme on Lassa fever considering its effects on the zone.

Caucus Chairman, Cajetan Onyedum, said in a statement in Enugu that the association was worried that the epidemic was turning out to be a yearly occurrence with devastating effects on the region.

Onyedum said such enlightenment would be routinely scaled up between September and April every year.

“We also demand that the Virology Centre in Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki (FETHA) be made a national centre for Lassa fever management,” he said.

Meanwhile, reacting to the outbreak of Lassa fever in parts of the country, the Bayelsa State Commissioner for Health, Professor Ebitimitula Etebu, said although there was no reported case of Lassa fever in the state, he assured residents that measures have been put in place to check its spread.

He disclosed that as part of its determination to ensure accessibility and affordability to health services, the state government had entered into partnership with the World Bank, Federal Government and other agencies on Save One million Lives for Result Programme.

He stated this while presenting his ministry’s scorecard at the Inter-Ministerial/Agency Briefing at the Gabriel Okara Cultural Centre in Yenagoa.

Also, following the outbreak of Lassa fever in Ondo State on Monday, the people of the state have attributed the fatality to the laxity of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu’s administration in the health sector.

They argued that the failure of the Mother and Child Hospitals and other caring heart initiatives in the health sector was responsible for the outbreak of the disease in the state.



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