The Minister of Health, Professor Issac Adewole has ordered the restriction of patients with high fever patients to states of residence even as tracing of 35 persons believed to have had contact with the deceased Abuja Lassa Fever patient has begun.
The Minister who stated this in Minna, the Niger state capital during a one day surveillance visit as part of his nationwide facts finding on the outbreak of Lassa Fever, that the restriction was part of efforts by the Federal Government to strengthen the Lassa fever alert system so as to achieve effective monitoring of the disease in the country.
The minister blamed the current outbreak of Lassa Fever on what he termed, failure of communication and notification system in Nigeria as he cited the case of Niger state whereby it took months after the outbreak before the federal ministry of health got to know.
According to him the outbreak of Lassa Fever in some parts of the country has been brought under control even as he commended Niger state government for been proactive in the handling of the outbreak of disease suspected to be Lassa Fever which has so far claimed scores of lives.
The Minister at a meeting with the state Governor, Alhaji Sani Bello who was represented by the deputy governor said despite the high rate of fatality recorded in the past few months, tremendous efforts by all stakeholders across the country have brought the situation 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”he said.
“So far things are under control in areas visited but I will advice the state and local government councils where deaths were recorded in Niger state to put an alert system in place to enable us track new cases whenever it happens”.
Professor Isaac Adewole however advice that all hands should be on deck to sustain the current status by ensuring that the federal ministry of health is promptly notified immediately of any strange deaths or disease, because, ‘every life counts and every death also counts’.
Responding the deputy governor, Alhaji Ahmed Ketso called for incorporation of traditional healthcare healers into the national Primary Health Care delivery policy due largely to their being the closest to the people particularly in rural areas.
Meanwhile Prof. Isaac Adewole has ordered the immediate renovation of the Primary Healthcare Centre in fuka, Muyan Local Government, of Niger State and reposition it to render 24 hours service.
The Minister gave the directive to the Executive Director National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) Dr. Ado Muhammad when he visited the community where 16 people were killed by the current Lassa fever outbreak.
The Minister noted that if the Primary Health Care Centre had been effective it would have alerted the Federal Ministry of Health at the onset of the outbreak in the community and the prompt response would have saved the lives of the victims.
Prof Adewole who condoled with the community head and members of the village encouraged them to report to the health officials as soon as they fall ill.
Prof. Adewole warned the people against self-medication and resort to traditional care as there are specific drugs for Lassa fever, and these are available in the hospital.