The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, has appealed to health practitioners across the country not to see the outbreak of the Lassa fever as a failure.
Speaking today during an interview , the Minister said that some states could not report the outbreak because they considered it to be a sign of failure.
“Some people will want to consider it as a sign of failure.
“I will tell you in Oyo State, we had a case of denial, (but) when I met the Governor (Abiola Ajimobi), he was angry that he would not want anybody to deny the existence of the case of Lassa fever in Oyo State but that we should forward to him, a proposal for active case fight and prevention across the state.”
Professor Adewole commended Governor Ajimobi’s action in curbing the spread of the disease, recommending that citizens should not hide cases away from health authorities.
He revealed that health authorities had uncovered five cases which were not reported in Ebonyi State and warned against a recurrence of such.
“I think at professional level, people must just admit that an outbreak should not be considered as a fault in the system but as something to be reported and actively to be presented,” he said.
The Minister said that the Ministry of Health is in touch with all Commissioners of Health in the country, stressing that they would be meeting on Tuesday under the auspices of the National Council on Health.
He disclosed that the ministry had, and would still dispatch surveillance teams across the country to keep down the figures of recorded cases.
“We have also dispatched drugs to the state and we are reactivating all our treatment and diagnostic centres in a bid to ensure that we are able to make diagnosis promptly.
“We are also sending teams all over the states to ensure that we uncover cases that hitherto, were not reported.”
Prof. Adewole also explained how the ministry planned to tackle situations in communities where the Lassa fever victims are not able to make it to the hospital.
“What we will activate will be community surveillance, where we have a functional community surveillance, we will get to know right from the community level,” he explained.
The Minister encouraged Nigerian media organisations to emulate Channels Television’s promotion of improved awareness to alert the public on the spread of the disease and urged other state governments to also emulate Lagos State government’s response to the outbreak.
“We also want to appreciate Lagos State that has activated the entire spectrum of prevention and control activities ranging from alert, adequate detection as well as treatment.