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Lassa fever: Edo govt not abandoned, says FG



The Federal Government has denied abandoning the Edo State Government over the outbreak of Lassa Fever in the state.

The state government had last Wednesday decried the neglect by the FG on the recent outbreak of Lassa Fever in the state.

The Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Chris Nehikhare, who stated this said, “The state government has tried everything within its powers to check this Lassa Fever outbreak.

“We have reached out to the Federal Government but for all intents and purposes, the Federal Government has abandoned the Edo State government and its people in this issue.

“All pleas and entreaties to the Federal Government on this challenging issue, they apparently just fell on deaf ears and this particularly is disheartening especially as the current Minister of Health is from Edo State.”

But the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire at the ministerial press briefing on Monday, said the FG monitors and supports all the states battling disease outbreaks.

Ehanire said, “What we do is to monitor the outbreak of diseases in Nigeria and at the moment, we are dealing with diphtheria, Lassa fever, cholera, meningitis, measles, and yellow fever all over the country.

“The health sector is a joint responsibility of the state, the federal government, and even the local government, and we also try to involve the community in implementing our programmes. Everybody has a joint responsibility but addressing a particular ailment is a collective responsibility of the federal and the state government.

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“I make sure that on our side, we do our diligence. Every single medicine they use for treating Lassa fever anywhere in the country is provided by the ministry of health, including the test reagents, and the test kits, that is our responsibility.”

He also said he confirmed from the Nigeria Centre for Disease and Prevention that everything needed to control the viral infection in Edo state has been supplied.

“As we speak now, Edo is not the only state that has Lassa fever. At the moment, they have a slightly bigger incidence than Ondo, but last year, Ondo had more. Edo is lucky that they have the best virus hospital in the whole of this country in Irrua.

“So, where is the abandonment coming from? They have the best hospital in the country, you get all the medication and treatment that you need. Where is the abandonment? I don’t see it.

“I also want to say again that the Chief Medical Director of the Irrua hospital was in my office to answer some of these questions and he assured me that on no occasion have they ever refused to treat anybody with Lassa fever whether you have money or not.

“Ondo state has not complained, they are taking care of their own, Bauchi state which is also high at the moment is taking care of their own problems. So, I intend to engage the Governor and the commissioner to explain what else they want us to do that we have not done.

“A lot of sensation around that, Edo state saying they are abandoned and the minister is from that state. So, that does not add up and if there is any development along that line, we shall make it known to you but I want to assure you that every disease outbreak is given the full attention by this ministry,” the minister said.

The PUNCH reports that the total number of Lassa fever cases in Edo state stands at 96.

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