Newly erected makeshift tent for more Lassa fever patients

…Source says cases from Ebonyi were treated in ISTH, not Abakaliki

Martins Ifijeh

The Lassa Fever Isolation Ward in Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH), Edo State, is presently recording an over flow of patients with about 25 confirmed or suspected cases currently under treatment or observation at the ward.

A visit by THISDAY to the Lassa fever ward Tuesday showed that the hospital management has erected a makeshift tent outside the ward to accommodate the growing number of suspected or confirmed cases.

A staff who spoke to THISDAY on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on behalf of the hospital management said most of the cases were from Owo in Ondo State, Ebonyi, a handful from Edo State and some surrounding states.

She decried why the efforts made by the centre, especially on cases relating to Ebonyi State outbreak was being credited to the Abakaliki Virology Centre in Ebonyi State.

THISDAY’s visit showed that among those at the centre were a House Officer from Ebonyi State, who has been confirmed to be infected by the virus, two nurses also from Ebonyi, who are said to be monitoring themselves for suspected cases, and a sister of the already infected House Officer, all from Ebonyi State.

“One of the two Ebonyi doctors who lost his live died here immediately he arrived. The other died while on the way while being brought here.

“We read on papers that Ebonyi denied taking their patients to ISTH. Truth is, these cases from Ebonyi were all treated here. I don’t know why they are arrogating the efforts of ISTH to themselves. If their centre is not functioning properly they should rather say it so that government can assist them, instead of denying bringing their residents here for treatment.

“As you can see, our isolation ward is full. New patients are being referred to the tent because of the overflow. So if we are making sacrifices to cater for these patients, those we are assisting (state governments) shouldn’t deny that we are making efforts,” the source stated.

She added that all the samples Ebonyi said they collected were all done in ISTH, and not their Virology Centre in Abakaliki.