By Emman Ovuakporie & Johnbosco Agbakwuru
Abuja—CONTRARY to reports that over 80 people had died as a result of the outbreak of Lassa fever in the country, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole has insisted that the number of deaths recorded in Nigeria as a result of Lassa fever in the country remained 47.
Prof. Adewole told the members of joint House Committee on Health, who had asked him to explain the number of deaths so far recorded as a result of the Lassa fever outbreak in the country and efforts made to eradicate the virus said what had been confirmed officially nation wide was 47 deaths and that any other figure published by the media was mere suspicion.
The minister, who disclosed this while presenting his brief on 2015 budget performance at the National Assembly also said that he had instructed airport authorities to screen passengers coming into the country for Lassa fever and Zika virus.
This is just as the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on HIV/AIDS, Mr David Ombugadu told Vanguard that the overall objective of budget defence was for the lawmakers to match the budgetary allocation with the realities on ground.
Ombugadu, who said that the lawmakers were more closer to the people further said that they respond to the needs of the people, adding, “so what is in the paper documented will be reassessed based on the demand driven need of our people and then we march it.”
Chairman, House Committee on Health Services, Rep Chike Okafor at the meeting told the health ministry to drop any programme or project that will not promote the good health of Nigerians.
Chike said in the midst of meagre resources, there was the need to channel the available resources to critical health issues so as to improve the health being of the citizenry.
He told the health minister to ensure that his actions and policies were geared towards the promotion of a state of physical, mental, emotional and social well being of Nigerians.
Answering questions whether the amount voted to the health sector in the 2016 budget was adequate, he said, “When we look at the proposal and the estimate they have made, if we think it is not going to serve the adequate needs of Nigerians, we will do the needful.”