Lassa fever: Edo health officials, WHO, partner agencies, storm affected communities to sensitize members

Lassa fever: Edo health officials, WHO, partner agencies, storm affected communities to sensitize members

A WHO official addressing community members yesterday

Edo State Health Commissioner, Prof. Obehi Akoria yesterday, led senior officials of the health ministry, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other partner agencies to some local governments most hit by the recent surge of Lassa fever.

The state recorded 18 new cases of the disease in the last week, raising the total number of persons who are currently on admission in the state to 23.

The officials embarked on awareness campaign in the communities to sensitize community members about the disease, especially on the need to seek urgent medical aid for affected members.  

Assuring the people that Lassa fever can be prevented or effectively treated when it occurs, the team, with the aid of posters and other illustrative materials also informed the people that government is providing treatment free of charge for those affected, They emphasized the need for community members to be aware of the current surge and adhere to preventive measures being disseminated by them.

The Commissioner had earlier briefed journalists in Benin City, where she disclosed that 18 new cases of Lassa Fever were recorded within the last week, adding that  23 patients  – 17 adults and six children –  are currently receiving care at the Irua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH).

Reassuring the government’s commitment to ensuring the health and well-being of every Edo resident, Prof. Obehi said the government has stepped up surveillance, sensitization, and other measures to stop the spread of the disease and protect residents across all Edo communities.

Lamenting the unprecedented rise in the number of infections, the health commissioner called for the support and collaboration of every Edo resident to control and eliminate Lassa fever in the state.

Prof. Obehi listed the local government areas in the state most hit by the disease to include Esan West, Etsako West, Esan North East, Esan Central, Etsako Central, Esan South East and  Etsako East.

Community members at the meeting with the visiting health officials in Esan West LGA.

Speaking on the government’s efforts to curb the spread of the disease and protect Edo citizens, she noted, “The Emergency Operation Centre for Lassa fever has been activated in Edo State on the 5th of January and they have had three meetings. The various pillars of the Emergency Operation Centre have been activated.

“The Infection, Prevention and Control pillar is currently working on contacting the Diseases Notification and Surveillance Officers in the various local government areas to beef up infection control. We have stepped up communication with messages being developed and disseminated to sensitize people in their local languages.

“We will also be meeting with local council stakeholders today in Edo Central. We will be meeting with the Head of Local Government Administration (HOLGA) of the seven affected LGAs, as well as the market women, Enogies, and the healthcare practitioners in the LGAs, among other stakeholders.”

Lamenting the rise in the number of infections, the Commissioner said, “This is an emergency situation, and we want people to be aware that cases of Lassa fever are on the rise.

“While the government is implementing a number of measures to prevent the spread of the disease in the state, we urge everyone to support the government’s efforts in curbing the spread of Lassa fever by complying with guidelines to stay healthy and safe.”

She charged, “Wash your hands frequently with soap and water; avoid contact with rat urine or feces; avoid consuming contaminated food or water and seek medical attention immediately if you experience any symptoms of Lassa fever, such as fever, headache, muscle pain, and weakness.”

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