Edo Has Failed To Control Lassa Fever- Minister of Health

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• Minister launches Action Committee on disease

From Kemi Yesufu

Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole yesterday disclosed how a patient suspected to have contracted Lassa fever absconded from Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital in Edo State.

The unnamed patient was said to have been referred to the hospital from Ebonyi State.

The minister, who was briefed on the development during a meeting with stakeholders on the disease, directed the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) coordinator to fish out the suspected patient by all means and return him to the diagnostic centre.

To effectively combat the disease, the minister launched the National Lassa Lassa Fever Action Committee headed by Professor Oyewole Tomori.

This was just as he expressed worry on the continued spread of Lassa fever. He stressed that a good number of states, where the virus has been detected, had fallen short in their response to the disease.

Adewole stressed that it was disappointing that states considered as ‘red states’ expect the Federal Government to purchase basic treatment drugs like Riboflavin for them.

Those infected with the Lassa fever virus, which is primarily carried by the ‘multimammate rat’, have been found in Niger, Nasarawa, Taraba, Edo, Kano, Ekiti, Lagos, Delta, Anambra, Plateau, Oyo, Rivers, Ondo, among others.

The minister, who spoke during the National Council of Health meeting held in Abuja, further said some states had refused to take up the fight against the disease, by providing logistics and other interventions to protect those in the states, saying they tend to rely on the Federal Government or the proverbial ‘federal might’ to provide necessary funding, even in emergency situations.

This was even as Adewole expressed regret over the presence of few diagnostic health centres, where specimen can be taken to, saying the situation where suspected patients are transported long distances either to Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital in Edo State or Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) was not too good for the control of the disease.

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