Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
Ondo State government has taken delivery of three ambulances and medical consumable to intensify its fight against Lassa fever in the state.
lt would be recalled that the state had last year recorded an outbreak of Lassa fever, a situation which prompted the state government to intensify the fight against the deadly disease.
According to a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, Mr Segun Ajiboye, the medical items were received on behalf of the state government by the Commissioner for Health, Dr Wahab Adegbenro.
Ajiboye said the medical items including the three ambulances which were donated to the state government by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) under the Healthier Niger Delta Initiative of the commission.
Dr. Adegbenro who described the donation as a welcome development said it would assist the government to continue to fight Lassa fever in the state.
While appreciating the NDDC for the kind gesture, the commissioner said the fact that the cost of treating Lassa fever patients was as high as N1.6 million and that necessitated the government’s call for an intervention.
He said: “The government is doing a lot. Right now we have an Infection Disease Hospital (IDH) in Akure which was built to tackle diseases including Lassa fever. At the Federal Medical Centre, Owo which is currently our treatment centre, we now have a mobile laboratory that can do the diagnosis for us in real time. Before now, we use to go to Edo State every day.
“Our system is such that there are some officers that routinely go out to monitor contacts and do contact tracing because any primary, secondary or tertiary contact with a confirmed case of Lassa fever would have to be monitored for 21 days before we let them off the hook.
“So, it is a lot of money that government is spending on Lassa fever and that is why we are very grateful to NDDC for coming to our aid, because some few months ago when we had this issue, we wrote to many organizations to come to our aid but, thank God NDDC responded and they have responded very well,” he added.
Dr Adegbenro who noted that the state government had been fighting Lassa fever in the state, stressed that it would intensify the fight against the disease with the medical items that have been received from the NDDC.
“We have been fighting Lassa fever but with greater vigour now, we can fight the scourge. With these three ambulances donated, we can move now; we can take cases from where they are because we have designated numbers that people can call when they suspect case,” he added.
The Ondo State coordinator of NDDC, Mr Lucky Aiyedatiwa, said when the state recorded an outbreak of Lassa fever few months ago, the Governor made a call to the commission for support, hence the assistance.
He said the commission decided to heed the governor’s call because of his passion and commitment to issues that affect the people of the state.