Lassa fever: Senate tasks FG, Health Ministry

Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Abuja | 2 February 2018 | 1,439 times

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•Motion sponsors, Senators Clifford Ordia and Lanre Tejuoso

The Senate has resolved to mandate its committees on Health (Secondary and Tertiary) and Primary Health Care and Communicable Diseases to investigate steps taken by the Federal Ministry of Health to curb the spread of Lassa fever disease in the country.

In the same vein, the upper chamber urged the Federal Government through the Ministry of Health to urgently provide the Centre for Research, Control and Treatment of Lassa fever Disease in Nigeria all necessary equipment to enable it meet its responsibilities to Nigerians seeking medical care there.

This followed a motion raised by Senator Clifford Ordia and Senator Lanre Tejuoso during the plenary on Thursday.

Contributing to the debate, Senator Ajayi Borrofice, representing Ondo North, admitted that “such outbreaks have the potential to negatively affect the wellbeing of our nation."

He added: “About two weeks ago, somebody from my constituency died of this disease. This outbreak requires urgent action to curtail its spread and treat those that have already been affected.”

Senator Barau Jibrin of Kano North condoled with the families of the victims, saying: “the last time we heard of this outbreak was many years ago and this is unacceptable.

“There is a serious lapse somewhere and we need to find treatments,” the Senator stated.

He said that “not being able to do this is us abdicating from our responsibilities. The committees that are responsible must look into this. We need to have sufficient health facilities to prevent our people from traveling abroad.”

Senator Emmanuel Paulker, who represents Bayelsa Central, seconded the motion, saying that “having a single centre to cater for a country of 180 million people is inadequate.

“There is a need for us to call on the Health Ministry that the one centre that caters for Lassa fever treatment must have all basic requirements.”

Lending his voice to the debate was the Senator Delta South, James Manager, who said: “At the end of the day, we must protect the health of our people."

He added that “now that we are undergoing the budget process, we can show seriousness on this issue. Let the funding be provided to decentralise the treatment of such outbreaks.”

He lamented the security situation of the country, while admitting that “Nigeria is like a community that has no boundaries."

He said: “We must treat this Lassa fever outbreak as a national emergency. We need to decentralise the treatment centres. When there is an outbreak and regular people are affected, I am alarmed. Now that medical practitioners and doctors are being also affected, I am very, very worried.”

Senator Matthew Urhoghide  of Edo South called on the Federal Government to be serious about curbing the outbreak of the disease, maintaining that “if the citizens of a country are not well, then that country is not well.”

According to him, “the disease is going from Edo to Bayelsa, from there to Anambra… The Federal Government must be serious because anyone can contact this viral infection.”

He said that the Federal Government must make efforts to provide more centres where the disease could be treated.

“When we have a total breakdown of the facilities of the centers that are able to treat Lassa fever, then there is a problem. We must have a centre for the treatment and management of the outbreak.

“For over 40 years we have been talking about tackling Lassa fever. This shows the lackadaisical attitude of the Federal Ministry of Health to this issue,” he explained.

Source: News Express

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