The Federal Teaching Hospital (FTH) Gombe has said that no fewer than 5 patients with suspected cases of Lassa fever have been admitted into the isolation ward of the health facility in the last few days.
The Deputy Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee of the hospital, Dr. Kefas Paul Zawaya said the isolation ward was filled to it capacity with the patients who were yet to be placed on active treatment due to the none confirmation of their ailment.
He said the patients were yet to be placed on proper treatment in-spite the signs and symptom of Lassa they manifest. “We cannot start to treat them without the confirmation of their illness. While we are awaiting their test result from Abuja, the patients are being managed barely.”
Dr. Zawaya lamented the slow process of getting test result in the state. He said the hospital is feeling the liability of not getting confirmation of the suspected cases. He said the burden was because the management of the hospital had ordered that patients with suspected cases in the isolation ward should be taken care of free of charge until their cases were confirmed.
“You see, it would be cheaper for us if we get these result early,” he said, further explaining that for the patients who are under the word “suspected case” they don’t get active treatment for the disease, lamented that they had been in the isolation ward waiting for the result of their test for over five days.
He added that the delay in getting test results was due to the recent change in government’s policy, which directs that hospitals in the northern part of the country are to take samples to Abuja for testing, while those in South-South and South-East will go to Irrua in Edo state while facilities in the South-West go to Lagos for their tests.
“When we were being allowed to send samples to Lagos, we get results in less than 72 hours and commence treatment on our patients,” the Deputy CMAC said.
When contacted for comments on the challenge now associated with management of patients with Lassa fever in the state, the Gombe State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Mohammed Ahmed Gana, said: “We cannot talk about Lassa fever now due to the spread of COVID-19 currently in the country.
“Don’t talk about Lassa fever now, we are done with Lassa, corona-virus is what we trying to curtail and prevent in Gombe for now,” Dr. Gana told Daily Sun shortly after a press conference on COVID-19 on Thursday in Gombe.
However, the commissioner had in an interview with Daily Sun last Friday confirmed that the state was still awaiting test results from samples taken from patients with suspected cases of Lassa fever.