The minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, yesterday attributed the increasing number of health workers getting infected with Lassa Fever to their refusal to take necessary precaution while treating patients in hospitals.
Adewole who stated this in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State when he paid a courtesy call on the state governor, Chief David Umahi, described the recent outbreak in the state which killed four health workers as unfortunate.
According to the minister, most doctors treat the deadly disease as if it is any other ordinary disease and fail to wear protective medical apparels while treating patients.
“What is worrisome is that when doctors and healthcare workers become infected then the country is in danger because everyone person that will go and meet that doctor or nurse is at risk.
“I want to say that up till today no health care worker has contacted Lassa at Irrua Specialist Hospital, Edo State because if you take precaution, wear gloves before you take blood, wear gloves before you operate, you can’t catch Lassa fever.
“Lass fever requires close contact between the blood of an infected person and healthcare workers looking out for him. Once you wear gloves, wear protective gown, you can’t have Lassa fever. But we have discovered that Doctors and Nurses treat Lassa as if it is just ordinary flu or malaria, but it is not,” the minister said.
He blamed the delay to fully equip the Virology Centre Abakaliki which was built and handed over to the federal government on outbreak of other deadly disease across the country to other pressing issues like monkey pox.
“Its quite unfortunate that you handed the centre over to us but because of a few other things we could not respond immediately with the operationalisation of the lab.
“As we moved to operationalise the lab we had other challenges, we had monkey pox, we had meningitis and it appeared as if in trying to prioritise we thought lassa has calm down a bit, we decided to quickly address these diseases and also yellow fever outbreak,” he added.
Responding, Umahi represented by his deputy, Kelechi Igwe, said sixteen cases have been recorded in the state.
“Nine cases have been confirmed, six are suspected cases, one is a probable index case. Eight of them are at the Virology Centre Abakaliki while one is in Irrua Specialist Hospital, Edo State.”
He noted that three of the confirmed cases have been successfully treated and discharged.
He said the state is committed to improving the health of the people and promised that the state will continue to partner with the federal government in this regard.
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