Nigeria: Some States Yet to Receive Govt's Support As Lassa Fever Spreads

24 January 2020

As the recent outbreak of Lassa fever continues to claim lives and spreads to more states, some affected states have received some level of support from the federal government while others have not.

In some states the federal government has only sent representatives on fact-finding mission even as the disease rages . Some of these states are in need of drugs, facilities and others to tackle the disease.

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The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, in a statement yesterday, said the number of confirmed cases this year had increased from 64 cases to 81. The centre said these were reported from six states of Ondo, Edo, Delta, Taraba , Plateau and Bauchi.

Since the beginning of this year, nine states have recorded at least one confirmed case across 32 local government areas.The disease has also claimed 24 lives this year, according to the report.

The latest outbreak exceeds last year's epidemic in number of people suspected and confirmed positive for Lassa fever.A total 398 people have been suspected for Lassa fever since the start of January, compared with 379 people the same period in 2019.

The NCDC report does not include the three people killed in Kano, one in Enugu and the death and three yet to be confirmed cases in Borno.

Borno State is yet to receive federal government's support in spite of the outbreak there. One death from Lassa fever was recorded at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital last Saturday, and three unconfirmed cases undergoing studies.

The State Commissioner for Health, SalihuKwayabura, told newsmen yesterday in Maiduguri that a hospital had been designated at Jajeri at Bolori Ward 2 of the Maiduguri metropolis as isolation center for the suspected cases and a GSM line designated for the reporting of suspected cases.

Edo State recorded the highest number of suspected cases in the current outbreak. As at yesterday eight deaths were recorded out of 175 cases of the disease in the statethis year. This is the highest casualty the state has recorded since the first outbreak in the state, according to the deputy governor's aide, Musa Ebomhiana.

The state Commissioner for Health, Patrick Okundia, said the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control had sent a representative on a fact finding mission to the centre at Irrua Specialist hospital in the state.

In Kano, when contacted for comment on whether the state had received any intervention from the federal government or not, the spokesman of the ministry, Isma'ila Gwammaja, said did not know as he was attending a meeting throughout the day

The Ondo State epidemiologist, Stephen Fagbemi, said the Niger Delta Development Commission, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and the state government yesterday made provision for some materials needed to tackle the Lassa fever epidemic in the state.

Ebonyi gets FG's support

Ebonyi State has relatively enjoyed the support of the federal government since the 2018 January outbreak of Lassa fever which claimed four lives mostly medical officers, Daily Trust gathered.

The assistance were both in operationalization of the virology centre and sending of medical team to assist the state in some major outbreaks. The centre was originally built by the state government in 2016 and was handed over to the federal government for management.

FG assists Plateau with PPE, Ribavirin

The Plateau State Government has confirmed five cases of Lassa fever in the state, but said no death recorded.

The State Commissioner for Health, NimkongLarNdam told Daily Trust on phone that five cases were earlier recorded, but one of the patients had been discharged from the hospital.

Ndam said the Federal Government had assisted the state with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as well as Ribavirin drugs for the patient treatment.

Bauchi receives drugs, protective materials from FG

The Federal Ministry of Health has donated drugs and protective materials to the Bauchi State Government to tackle the outbreak of suspected cases of Lassa fever in the state.

The Executive Secretary, Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr RilwanMuhammed, who disclosed this yesterday in a telephone interview, said, "Last week, the federal government donated drugs and protective materials used by medical personnel for the treatment of suspected cases of Lassa fever in the state."

Enugu to get PPE materials

Permanent Secretary, Enugu State Ministry of Health, Dr Ifeanyi Agujiobi, in a statement on Thursday said the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) had been contacted, "and it is making arrangements to send in some health commodities to support the State Ministry of Health who has already dispatched a lot of prophylactic and PPE materials."

NCDC officials have visited Taraba

Daily Trust reports that there is one confirmed Lassa fever death and five suspected cases at the Federal Medical Centre, JalingoTaraba State.

Findings reveal that the patient was admitted at the centre last week and his case was clinically confirmed to be Lassa Fever following test conducted at Irrua Specialist Hospital, Edo state.

It was gathered that five more patients suspected of Lassa Fever were on observation at the centre and samples of their blood have been sent to Edo state for confirmation.

Daily Trust also gathered that officials from the National Centre for Diseases Control (NCDC) have arrived Jalingo , and held meetings with officials of the medical center and Taraba state government over the outbreak.

The state commissioner of Health,Dr Innocent Vakkai could not be reached for comment as his line was switched off when our reporter called him.

We're working to contain spread of Lassa fever - Govs

The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors' Forum (NGF) and Governor of Ekiti State, DrKayodeFayemi, said governors were currently working to ensure that the outbreak of Lassa fever, which has claimed lives in Kano State and Ondo States, does not spread across the country.

Governor Fayemi, stated this on Wednesday night while fielding questions from journalists after their monthly meeting at the NGF Secretariat in Abuja, said states were taking precautionary measures to address the epidemic in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Health and the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

Fayemi, while reading the communique, said the forum received update on the Lassa fever epidemic and the Chinese virus currently conflagrating around the world.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) DrChikweIhekwazu did not respond to text messages sent to him on the intervention made by government as at press time.

Muideen Olaniyi, Judd-Leonard Okafor (Abuja), Usman A. Bello (Benin)bola Ojuola (Akure)lamisadiq (Jos) Hassan Ibrahim (Bauchi)nabob Ogbonna (Abakiliki) Tony Adibe (Enugu)uthmanabubakar (Maiduguri)magaji Isa Hunkuyi (Jalingo)yusha'uadamu ( Kano)

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