• Monday, July 15, 2024
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BusinessDay

Criticism trails Akwa Ibom government’s handling of Lassa fever outbreak

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Stakeholders and health workers in Akwa Ibom State have criticised the handling of sensitisation programme by the state government on the outbreak of Lassa fever, which has claimed one life, saying not much is done to create awareness on the disease.

They have also expressed concern over the lack of medical commodities like hand gloves and sanitisers in hospitals and health centres for use by health workers in order to safeguard their lives, while treating patients.

At a forum convened by the state ministry of health and held at the civil service auditorium in Uyo, the state capital, health workers and other stakeholders in the health sector expressed worry that the sensitisation programme was coming too late after the disease has already been reported in the state.

“The meeting as convened by the state government is coming a little too late, not much had been done before Know to let the people know the about Lassa fever in the state.

“Apart from the state government talking about committees being set up to handle the outbreak of the disease in the state, hospitals and health centres do not have running water and other basic commodities to work with, the stakeholders said.

Speaking at the meeting, Dominic Ukpong, health commissioner who announced the setting up of several committees to check the spread of the disease said the outbreak has been reported to the federal ministry of health adding that a consortium of medical experts were already in the state to carry out a surveillance about the disease.

He said the minister of health was expected in the state within two weeks.

“This is an emergency situation. We should reorder our priorities. We are going to do as much as we can to tackle the outbreak. We would provide Personal Protective Equipment and distribute to centres that will handle cases,’’ he said.

Ukpong, who also stressed the need for adequate sensitisation of the people by state social mobilisation committee on how to stay free of the disease warned the public to stay from rat consumption.

In his remarks, Augustine Umoh, chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association in the state solicited the assistance of the state government in providing commodities to health workers who would be treating Lassa fever patients.

Umoh who also chairman of the isolation committee where facilities would be provided to treat patients in isolated   wards said there should be a collaborative effort involving all stakeholders in the health sector including providing support of the University of Teaching Hospital (UUTH) where he said is likely to be involved in treating Lassa fever patients.

Lassa fever has been reported in the state and has already claimed one life.