Edo Govt Raises the Alarm over Rising Lassa Fever, Records 18 New Cases

•Revs up surveillance, sensitisation, others to curb infections

•PwC spotlights state as model for viable economic strategy

Adibe Emenyonu in Benin-City

The Edo State Government yesterday announced that it recorded 18 new cases of Lassa fever last week, raising the total number of persons currently on admission in the state to 23.

The state Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akoria Obehi, who disclosed this while briefing journalists in Benin City, said the persons, including 17 adults and six children, were currently receiving care at the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH), in Esan Central Local Government Area.

Reassuring the government’s commitment to ensuring the health and well-being of every Edo resident, Prof. Obehi said the government had stepped up surveillance, sensitisation, and other measures to stop the spread of the disease and protect residents across all Edo communities.

Lamenting the unprecedented rise in the number of infections, the health commissioner called for the support and collaboration of every Edo resident to control and eliminate Lassa fever in the state.

According to her, “Edo State, over the past one week, has recorded 18 new cases of Lassa fever, bringing the cases of Lassa fever patients currently on admission in the state to 23.

“The 23 patients, including 17 adults and six children are currently receiving care at the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital.”

Obehi listed the local government areas in the state most affected by the disease to include Esan West, Etsako West, Esan North East, Esan Central, Etsako Central, Esan South East and Etsako East.

Speaking on the government’s efforts to curb the spread of the disease and protect Edo citizens, she noted: “The Emergency Operation Centre for Lassa fever has been activated in Edo State on the 5th of January and they have had three meetings. The various pillars of the Emergency Operation Centre have been activated.

“The Infection, Prevention and Control pillars are currently working on contacting the Diseases Notification and Surveillance Officers in the various local government areas to beef up infection control. We have stepped up communication with messages being developed and disseminated to sensitise people in their local languages.

“We will also be meeting with local council stakeholders today in Edo Central. We will be meeting with the Head of Local Government Administration (HOLGA) of the seven affected LGAs, as well as the market women, Enogies, and the healthcare practitioners in the LGAs, among other stakeholders.”

Lamenting the rise in the number of infections, the commissioner said, “This is an emergency situation and we want people to be aware that cases of Lassa fever are on the rise.

“While the government is implementing a number of measures to prevent the spread of the disease in the state, we urge everyone to support the government’s efforts in curbing the spread of Lassa fever by complying with guidelines to stay healthy and safe.”

She added: “Wash your hands frequently with soap and water; avoid contact with rat urine or feces; avoid consuming contaminated food or water and seek medical attention immediately if you experience any symptoms of Lassa fever, such as fever, headache, muscle pain, and weakness.”

Meanwhile, the Chief Economic Adviser, PwC Nigeria, Andrew Nevin, has picked Edo as a model state with a viable economic strategy, noting that Governor Godwin Obaseki’s deep thinking has placed the state on the path of progress.

Nevin, in a chat with journalists, noted that after a review of sub-nationals in Nigeria, Edo stood out on the back of the government’s commitment to driving a pragmatic economic model to transform the state into an industrial hub.

According to him, “Edo State is a good example. Let me give you an example of the economic policies Governor Obaseki has in place. One of them is the development of agriculture and agro value chains and being able to attract investment, especially in palm oil.

“The second is the cultural industry. A new museum is opening up in Benin City and is focused on the Benin bronzes. There is an incredible story to tell about the Benin Empire.”

He added: “The third one is about upskilling young Nigerians to be able to assert themselves in the global value chain as developers. The governor is training thousands of developers in the state.

“The point I am trying to make is that the state has an economic strategy and it is being executed excellently. Every state has attributes which it can draw on to drive growth.”

The Governor Obaseki-led administration has implemented far-reaching reforms across various sectors of the state’s economy, attracting investors in energy, commercial agriculture, agro-processing, forestry, skills development, tourism, entertainment, and creative industry, among other sectors.

Related Articles