By Kayode Adegbehingbe
As it stands, Ondo State seems to be getting a handle on the disease which has swept through many states in the country. Many deaths have been recorded, and many people are being watched, who made contact with those infected.
The Lassa fever comes from a virus transmitted from a kind of rat to man. The culprit is one adorned with many breasts. People have been warned about the way they handle food items, not exposing them, food items should not be dried outside.
However, the federal government has been accused of not acting swift enough to arrest the situation. Others have called on the federal government to make test kits more widely available. The disease is deadly and highly infectious. It has been suggested that garri should not be socked.
This issue might have revealed that we have not developed a good enough protocol in the country for handling issues like this. Now there is another viral infection emerging from some countries like Brazil and others around it, which is suspected to cause babies to be born with smaller heads, which attendant developmental and health challenges.
Women in one of the countries have been advised to desist from getting pregnant in the next two years.
It has been reported that some United Kingdom travelers have imported the diseases into the countries. It is transmitted by certain kinds of mosquitoes.
Travel alerts have been given by some countries that pregnant women should not travel to the endemic regions. That is the proactive nature of those countries.
So also in the challenge that we face now, it proves true the maxim: prevention is better than cure.
The health sector should be strengthened, action needs to be taken to ensure that people are able to go about their business without any fear. Nothing should be spared to achieve this result. Public enlightenment should be stepped up.
Lassa fever has reared it’s ugly head in the country and we need to do everything to put paid to it.
Affected states should be supported by all means, technical and medical support should be deployed in adequate measure. If we need the help of international bodies, it should be requested.
The lives of innocent Nigerians are at risk here. Apart from the need to upgrade our medical facilities, we need to upgrade the training of our medical personnel, to be ready to deal with such challenges when they come up. We need not be caught on the back foot.
Faster ways of testing for the disease should be developed, and proper protocol and procedures for handling patients clearly spelt out and communicated.
It seems with the issue of this present outbreak, the authorities at the national level, waited too long to issue the needed advisory and take the bull by the horn. They waited too long to spring to action. Now the disease has landed in Abuja and Lagos.
We should reexamine our national health strategy, with the understanding that what affects one affects all.
The people trust the government with resources to be able to protect them from such things, to think ahead and get the job done with equanimity.
For the people, rather than panic, we need to get as informed as possible, take care of our food items, get rid of rats in our surroundings. Those who are in the habits of eating rats must desist.
It has been reported that those who sell rat poisons are now smiling to the banks and it should be expected that once again, like in the heyday of the Ebola virus, the people might again be running away from bush meats.