Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Oyo State Government has placed medical officials across the 33 local governments and 35 local council development areas of the state on red alert based on the outbreak of Lassa fever in some parts of the country.
Commissioner for Health in the state, Dr. Bashir Bello, announced this when he addressed journalists at the Film Theatre of the state Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism on Thursday in Ibadan.
He noted that though there has not been any confirmed case of lassa fever in the state, the University College Hospital (UCH) and members of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) should work assiduously to prevent lassa fever from spreading to Oyo State.
Bello was accompanied to the press briefing by the Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism (MICT) in the state, Dr. Wasiu Olatubosun; Chairman of NMA in the state, Dr. Akin Shodipo; Permanent Secretary, MICT, Mr Gabriel Oguntola, and his counterpart at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Mufutau Ayoola; and strategic stakeholders in preventive and curative medicine.
He stated that as government is playing its part on prevention of lassa fever from spreading to the state, the residents also have crucial roles to play by maintaining hygienic living in order to prevent its outbreak in the state. He advised people living in the state to prevent rodents from having contact with their food items, either in the places of abode or shops.
Bello noted that since the outbreak of the haemorrhagic fever in some states across the country, including Ondo and Kano States, the ministry has launched surveillance and had alerted its health centres across local governments areas in the state, isolated departments and quarantine units to beon alert. He added that his ministry had been working with UCH and NMA for curative measures in the event of any reported case.
He also cautioned people living I the rural areas against spreading raw food items by roadside for sun to dry them, saying rodents could walk on the food items and excrete on them, which would be packed together and transported to the cities and could cause lassa fever.
Charman of NMA in the state, Dr. Akin Sodipo promised that members of his association would support the government to fight against the lassa fever. He also appealed to medical practitioners and caregivers to imbibe the culture of using handgloves before giving treatment to any patient.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Mufutau Ayoola, advised residents of the state to report suspected cases of fever accompanied by bleeding from unusual places such nose, ear and coughing out of blood via an emergency telephone number: 08033849703.
Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Dr. Wasiu Olatunbosun, said the state has also embarked on massive and aggressive media campaign to sensitise the people on the preventions of lassa fever.