The Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, has inaugurated an Emergency Response Committee on eradication of Lassa Fever following the reported incidence of the disease in the state.
The Committee which was inaugurated on Saturday by the Governor at the Government House Alagbaka, Akure is chaired by the Commissioner for Health, Dr Wahab Adegbenro has the General Manager of Ondo State Waste Management Authority, Mrs Bola Akinyanmi as its Secretary.
Other members include; Commissioner for Environment, Mr Funso Esan; Special Adviser to the Governor on Union Matters, Mr Alaba Isijola; Chairman, Caretaker Committee of Owo Local Government Area, Hon Benjamin Adebayo, Acting Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr Dipo Durojaye and Managing Director ZL Global Ltd, Dr Abiola Bashorun.
Other members are the State Epidemiologist who is the Incident Manager on Lassa Fever Outbreak Dr. Stephen Fagbemi and the Acting Director Public Health for the state, Dr Victor Adeusi while the Commissioners for Education, Science and Technology, Mr Femi Agagu; Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Deaconess Fagbemi Omolola Julianah and Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Yemi Olowolabi were co-opted to serve in the committee.
The committee charged to begin ”Operation Flush Out Lassa Fever” from the state within the shortest possible time was mandated to aggressively embark on sensitisation campaigns, advocacy visits to Royal Fathers and Religious Leaders and put to use an appropriate dump site for human wastes.
Addressing Government House Reporters after its inaugural meeting held at the Secretariat of Owo Local Government, Owo, Chairman of the Committee, Dr Wahab Adegbenro said the committee was empowered to use all means available to it to checkmate attempts by anyone that may want to inhibit efforts at curtailing the incidences of Lassa Fever in the state.
He said the sensitisation campaigns would be to crisscross the state on the need for residents to keep their environment clean and live hygienic lives at all times so that the primary carrier of the Lassa virus which is rat would keep an appreciable distance away from people and how to reduce the incidences of human to human transmissions.
“Maintain cleaner environments, shun the habit of indiscriminate dumping of refuse around your homes so as not to attract rats. The government has set in motion immediate plans to evacuate all dump sites to keep rats far away.
“The original source is from rats to human, but we have lots of human to human transmission and this is more reason why it is imperative to report any suspicious case to nearest health facility where necessary tests would be carried out to ascertain if it’s malaria or not so as to have such patient appropriately referred.
“It is part of our culture to care for our sick ones, but while doing that, we must be very careful bearing in mind, the outbreak of this deadly disease”, he said.
Dr. Adegbenro said early detection and treatment of Lassa Fever which has symptomatic pieces of evidence similar to malaria so as to avoid its devastating effects like organs and kidney failure which could life-threatening and death.
He further explained that visiting health facilities where appropriate diagnosis would be carried out, rather than administering treatment at home, self-medication, remains the best way to detect the scourge earlier and prevent deaths.
The Commissioner mentioned the symptoms to include; abdominal pains, diarrhoea and vomiting with blood stains while muriatic rashes in the body which occurs at the advanced stage of the disease.
The Committee Chairman who hinted that the dreaded disease spares no one sought the cooperation and understanding of the public towards kicking the disease out of the state.
He, however, appealed to security agencies to ensure that people adhere to rules and regulations of operations as rights of individuals are suspended during the outbreak.
At the end of its inaugural meeting, the committee proceeded to identify two different expenses of the land of which one would be acquired as a dump site for Owo and Ose Local Government Areas.
A committee member who is also the Commissioner for Environment, Mr Funso Esan said an acceptable dump site has to be far away from the residential arena and must be deep into the bush to prevent getting toxic emissions nearer to the people.