PAUL OMOKUVIE, Bauchi
Bauchi State has been thrown into mourning as Lassa fever has claimed the life of the district head of Toro, Alhaji Garba Adamu Toro (Katukan Bauchi).
The death of the traditional ruler was made public by the state governor, Sen Bala Mohammed while speaking during a courtesy visit to the director-general of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in Abuja on Monday.
Mohammed also disclosed that a number of medical personnel in the state were suspected to have been infected by the Lassa fever virus and were now under isolation and monitoring to determine their condition.
“Because of the escalation of the outbreak of Lassa fever in Bauchi State and the death of one of the district heads due to the Lassa fever infection coupled with the infection of the disease by some medical personnel, I decided to cut short my official visit to Germany by coming back quickly to solicit the support of the Federal Government through the DG National Centre for Disease Control and ED National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA),” he said
He described the plan to establish a zonal centre of the NCDC in Bauchi as a welcome development and pledged to provide the necessary facilities for a smooth take off within the shortest possible time.
“Our visit to you is to appreciate you for your commitment towards reducing the infection of diseases in the country and to intimate you that we are ever ready to work with you for effective provision of healthcare services in the state,” he said.
Mohammed also said that he is currently working on accessing alternative funding from relevant bodies through the support of multilateral bodies and global organisations working in the state.
To achieve this, the governor said that his administration will engage religious and community leaders to educate citizens on the preventive mechanism against infection with diseases.
While responding to the governor, DG, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, disclosed that a zonal centre is to be established in Bauchi to serve the North-East zone of the country in the management and investigation of an infectious disease outbreak.
The director-general, however, enjoined the state government to provide the required manpower in order to achieve the desired objectives assuring that as soon as such is done, the centre will take off.
Ihekweazu also said that already the centre had declared its interest to support the governor to ensure effective implementation of his health policies beneficial to the citizens of the state.
He added: “Your Excellency, even before your visit to us today, you have our commitment; let’s work together so as to ensure effective service delivery.”
The DG also said that “human resources are one of the major challenges in the healthcare sector; I hope you will provide the required manpower. We will soon lay down our foundation in Bauchi State to manage the outbreak of diseases.”
Chikwe Ihekweazu assured that the centre was working in close collaboration with critical stakeholders to manage any outbreak of diseases across the country.
The governor was accompanied by the state Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Samaila Burga; the executive chairman, State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Rilwanu Mohammed and his SSA on Media, Muktar Gidado as contained in a statement by Lawal Muazu Bauchi, S. A New Media to the Bauchi Governor.
The late Katukan Bauchi, Garba Adamu Toro was appointed as the new district head of Toro by the Emir of Bauchi, Dr Rilwanu Sulaimanu Adamu on 8th of December 2019, officially installed on 22nd February, 2019 and died on 13th March 2020 at the National Hospital, Abuja where he was taken to for medical attention. He has been buried in Toro.
All efforts to get the reaction of the number of the medical personnel affected by the Lassa fever virus proved abortive as calls put across to the Commissioner for Health, Dr Aliyu Maigoro Mohammed, were not answered neither were they returned as of the time of filing this report.