Lassa Fever Now Under Control—Health Minister Assures

By Fodio Ahmed

The Minister of Health, Professor Issac Adewole on Wednesday said that the suspected outbreak of Lassa Fever in the country has been brought under control. He also commended the Niger State Government for been proactive in handling the outbreak of the disease in the state. Niger State was one of the 10 States alleged to have been affected by the disease.

The Minister who was in Minna, Niger State capital on surveillance and nationwide fact finding on the outbreak of Lassa Fever told the Niger Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello that despite the high rate of fatality in the last few months, efforts by all stake-holders in the country have brought the scourge of the disease under control.

"A nationwide alert system is on to track the disease. Except for the case in Plateau, no person-to-person or hospital acquired infection has been recorded. So far, things are under control but the state and local government should put an alert system in place to enable us track new cases whenever it happens.

He further stated that "Mr. Governor, I am happy that no new notification from Niger State since the last one. We commend the state government proactive measures in handling the situation. Niger State is now on top of the situation," the Minister commended. He however said that all hands should be on deck to sustain the current status by ensuring that his ministry is promptly notified of any strange death or disease stressing that "every life counts and every death also counts".

Adewole blamed the current outbreak on failure in communication and notification system in the country. He cited the case of Niger State where it took months of the outbreak before his ministry was notified.

The Niger State governor, who was represented by his deputy, Alhaji Ahmed Ketso called for incorporation of traditional health-care healers into the National Primary Health Care Delivery Policy. He said the need for their inclusion has become necessary being the first health-care giver, the rural dwellers consult. The Governor Commended the Federal government quick response to the suspected outbreak of Lassa Fever in Fuka ward of Munya Local Government Area of Niger State.

Earlier the Commissioner for Health and Health Services, Dr. Mustapha Jibril said, despite the delay in notification and willingness of the people to give information, the Government swung into action with Federal Government, World Health Organisation (WHO) and other relevant agencies to nip the disease in the bud.

The Minister and his entourage later paid a fact finding visit to the affected community.