The Governor Ibikunle Amosun led government in Ogun State has appealed to residents in the state not to panic over the outbreak of Lassa fever in the some states in the country, assuring adequate attention of any outbreak.
The state government, therefore, advised members of the public to promptly report any case of the disease to the state epidemiologists on 08033591033 and 08034214893 as well as hotlines for Lassa fever notification on 09099140121 and 09099140122.
The state government also disclosed that all measures to curtail possible outbreak had been put in place, urging residents to always maintain good personal hygiene and keep their environment clean.
Meanwhile, the state government hinted that three hospitals in the state have been dedicated for possible isolation and treatment of Lassa fever patients.
Dr Babatunde Ipaye, the state Commissioner for Health, has also urged residents not to panic over the outbreak of the disease in neighbouring states of Lagos, Ondo and Oyo, declaring that no case of Lassa fever has been reported yet in the state.
He said the government has intensified public health education and awareness campaign towards preventing the spread of the disease to the state, saying the state had mounted surveillance in its 20 local government areas to include border towns.
“The health institutions dedicated for isolation are the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital, Sagamu; State Hospital, Ijaiye, Abeokuta; and General Hospital, Iberekodo.
“We have pre-positioned three of our facilities…for possible isolation. We don’t need a big medical centre to manage disease of public health importance. What is necessary there is just isolation and diagnosing and, of course, to administer the appropriate drugs. But we don’t have the cases yet,” he added.
While allaying the fears of residents, Ipaye stated that the ministry had embarked on “contact tracing” method to ensure that those who already had contact with Lassa fever patients do not transmit the disease.
He said his ministry, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, would constitute a committee to create a work plan to engage schools on sensitization.
The commissioner, who described students as veritable tools of public health education, said they would be engaged to further spread awareness about the disease.
”The other major reason why we will also take to schools is that in public health intervention, the students are veritable tools of public education. If you communicate to the students, they will take the information back home and get it across to the parents and others,” he said.
Dr Ipaye also disclosed that the state government had already began discussions with the federal Ministry of Health to ensure the supply of anti-viral drugs as an emergency preparedness strategy.