By Yekini Jimoh in Lokoja
The Kogi State Government has blamed gastroenteritis for the death of scores of persons in the state last week.
Over 60 persons were believed to have died last week from a mysterious disease in Koloke, Okuna, Isanlu-Isa and adjourning Hausa-Fulani communities in Yaba-West Local Government Area of the state.
But speaking with journalists in Lokoja yesterday, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Ahmed Saka, said the disease had been diagnosed to be gastroenteritis.
Saka therefore called for calm, promising that the state government was making efforts to tackle the disease.
â€œWe want to assure the public that government is doing all that is possible to stay on top of the situation and forestall further loss of lives.
â€œWe will continue to inform the public as the investigation progresses,â€™â€™ the commissioner stated. Before the commissioner made the revelation, the state Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, had directed him to immediately ensure that he has a proper diagnosis of the epidemic with a view to finding medical remedies to the unfortunate incident.
Bello while speaking through his Director General on Media and Publicity, Mr. Kingsly Fanwo, on the efforts the state government was making to find a lasting solution to the disease, noted that it was working round the clock to avert a further loss of lives.
The governor said: â€œGovernment will ensure the epidemic is tamed from doing further damage.â€
Bello said government had been working hard to arrest the situation since some deaths were reported, assuring inhabitants of the settlements of governmentâ€™s readiness to provide healthcare support to the affected persons.
â€œWe have been circumspect in disclosing the cause of the deaths and the statistics of casualties because the Kogi State Government will not rely on unverified claims by people who do not have accurate information and data on the incident.
â€œWe have directed the health commissioner to immediately ensure we have a proper diagnosis of the causes of the epidemic with a view to finding medical remedies to the unfortunate incident.
â€œSurvivors are under intensive care by the state government and our fears that the victims died of Lassa Fever are being allayed. There is no proof to link it with Lassa Fever.
â€œIn a couple of days, we will be able to address all the issues surrounding the epidemic and give accurate information to the public as medical experts are on the field gathering facts.
â€œWe sympathise with the families who have lost lives of their loved ones. But as a responsible government, we shall do everything possible to curtail the spread of the epidemic or ailment as the case may be,â€ Bello said.
The governor urged residents of the area to be vigilant and take health precautions, saying government would continue to cater for the health needs of the citizens.
He admonished Kogi residents to take the issues of personal and environmental hygiene seriously, as well as guard against self-medication.
â€œThe state Ministry of Health has been campaigning against self-medication. We urge Kogites to always visit medical experts in clinics and hospitals to ensure they are diagnosed before treatment. On its part, government will continue to cater for the health needs of the people as every life is important to Kogi State,â€ he said.