OrderPaperToday – Sen. Matthew Urhoghide (PDP Edo South) has blamed the continuous spread of Lassa fever on lack of effective response from the Federal Government like the outbreak of Ebola was handled.
The senator in an interview with newsmen in Abuja Monday said that the manner with which Lassa outbreak had been handled over the years was largely inadequate.
He recalled that Lassa fever killed the wife of his friend over 10 years ago and expressed regrets that the disease was still a challenge in Nigeria.
Orhoghide stressed that the outbreak of the disease should have been handled the same way Ebola was handled, noting that public awareness on Lassa was still at its lowest ebb throughout the country.
He said: “The issue of Lassa fever in Nigeria is not new, it has been on. It is the lackadaisical attitude of all concerned agencies in this country. There is really nothing serious they are doing. You could see the alacrity with which they handled Ebola.
“Everybody was on his toes in Nigeria to tackle the attack of Ebola but here, the awareness is not even there. Personal hygiene is important in the case of Lassa fever as well. The basic hygiene that people were carrying out then by using sanitisers is no longer there.
“Of course the ministry officials are having activities here and there but not comparable to the public awareness that was there during Ebola, everybody was up and doing.”
The senator also noted that the Federal Government was not doing enough in the area of funding as there were no adequate facilities while the existing ones were not well equipped.
“Some of the equipment we need to fight the Lassa outbreak is still very much lacking, particularly in the Specialist Teaching Hospital in Irrua (Edo State).
“It is one of the centres for rehabilitation and of course the hospital too is very profound in the activities as far as Lassa fever is concerned over the years.
“Even the Chief Medical Director on television was saying that they do not have enough dialysers to cope with patients that are being rehabilitated in the hospital.”
Reports say over 70 people have been confirmed dead from lassa fever and over 200 cases are being treated, while many others are undergoing close observation.