By Doraty Onoja
Kogi state has so far spent over 18million on the treatment of Lassa fever in the state. To this end, additional 38million was released to treat the disease.
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr Saka Haruna Audu disclosed this in a stakeholder meeting held today in Lokoja.
Dr. Saka said additional responsibility to expand the scope of the disease control have been put in place, stating that 5 bed spaces have been added to the existing 3 bed spaces to treat infected cases of Lassa Fever.
Speaking further , the Hon.Commissioner said that the State Government has given 21 days ultimatum to control the disease within the stipulated period.
According to him 50 suspected cases has been identified while 16 of it have been confirmed to be Lassa Fever virus, but 5 have been fully treated.
He portrayed that the State Government have made procurement of necessary drugs and other proactive drugs to control the disease.
Dr. Saka also explained that a resolution has been taken to transport patients with Lassa fever with enhanced dedicated ambulances to a referral center to prevent the public from being contacted by the disease, stating that the use of commercial vehicle to transport such patient should be discouraged.
The Commissioner equally disclosed that16 cases that were confirmed are limited to 6 Local Government Areas which include : Okene, Okehi, Idah, Ibaji, Dekina & Igalamela / Odolu.
Dr. Saka also said that the Ministry of Health will collaborate with the Ministry of Environment Ministry of Agriculture, Community heads, religious leaders and other stakeholders in the community to sensitize the people on the Lassa fever in order to curb the disease.
The Commissioner commended the epidemiology team for the job well done and urged them to take the sensitization to the grassroots. He also talked on the training of the people to safe guide themselves from the virus. He solicited for the intervention of the World Health Organization (WHO) concerning the Lassa fever outbreak.
Earlier, in his report presentation, the State Epidemiologist Dr. Augustine Ojodule talked about the challenges they are facing, which include : inadequate numbers of volunteers, limited space in treatment center, lack of cooperation (it makes contact tracing very difficult ) and inadequate logistics to support contact tracing and case management. Adding that in terms of social mobilization have partner with radio kogi to air produced jingle in order to sensitize the public on Lassa fever.