Lassa fever: Federal govt apologises for late response in Ebonyi

The Federal Government yesterday admitted its late response towards the revival of the south east virology centre which would have helped to tackle the unfortunate outbreak of Lassa fever in Ebonyi state.

The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, made this known in Abakaliki during his one day assessment visit to the state.

He,however, commiserated with the state governor, Chief David Umahi, for the loss of valuable health workers especially the Doctors in the Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki.

“Our visit to Ebonyi state is to do an assessment and also brainstorm with you about what we told you and to put behind us the unfortunate incidents move forward.

“I want to commiserate with the governor and the entire state about the loss of lives of our people. And the outbreak of Lassa fever. It is very unfortunate. When it occurred, we quickly deplored our rapid response team to Ebonyi State.

“Because of the few other things we could not respond appropriately with the operationalization of the lab. What is worrisome is that when health workers, particularly doctor’s become infected, then the country is in danger.

“Because every other person that meet that doctor or nurse is at risk and that is why we describe this situation to be serious and it deserves emergency attention,” he stated.

In a remark, the governor of Ebonyi State, Chief David Umahi, expressed regret that the federal government failed to take the handover serious as to make the virology centre operational.

Umahi represented by the deputy, Barr. Kelechi Igwe said he is not ashamed to admit that there was an outbreak of Lassa fever in the State.

“Lassa fever is one of the ailment that is like HIV to some people. We are advising children and the people to keep away from rat.

“We are not happy that it happened. The governor in his magnanimity has done so much to end lassa fever, even schools in Ebonyi state were shutdown for one week. That hospital was like quarantine area for that particular period. The state also approved N7million to arrest that ugly situation.

“We are swallowing our pride and shame to say that there is Lassa fever. At the moment, we have 16 recorded cases. 9 cases have been confirmed to be Lassa fever, 6 are suspected cases while 8 persons are on admission in virology centre in FATHA while 3 of the confirmed cases have received treatment and have been discharged.

“The disease have consumed the lives of 4 persons in the state, 3 of whom are health workers.

“It is unfortunate that since we handed over that lassa fever centre, federal government have not done anything to sustain that place. We invested such huge amount of money in constructing that centre and also furnishing it believing that the federal government who is our bigger brother can sustain it. Take this story back to the federal government that we are not happy about it.

“We humbly call on the federal government to urgently come to our aide by providing stabilization fund to sustain that centre and make it operational.

“We are not happy that we lost very important members of the society in that place,” he stressed.


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