Jimitota Onoyume (Port Harcourt), Oghene Omonisa, Marie-Therese Nanlong (Jos), Wole Mosadomi (Minna), Suzan Edeh (Bauchi), Abdulsalam Muhammad (Kano) & Dayo Johnson (Ondo)
Following the loss of 42 lives to the Lassa fever outbreak out of the 86 reported cases, some residents in the affected states have remained indifferent. While some stated that they have not paid attention to the development, some indicated that they were no adequate awareness campaign to guide people against the spreed of the disease.
In Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, residents said they were yet to give any serious attention to the outbreak of Lassa fever in the state because they were trying to settle down after the Christmas and New Year holiday in the village. “I heard of the Lassa fever stuff but I just came back from the village. May be when I get settled for business, I will take time to look for details on the matter”, Emenike who resides in Diobu said.
Some also said the way the federal and state governments were going about the outbreak had not given room for panic. “Though I have heard of Lassa fever, the information coming out so far from government does not suggest there is need to panic”, Johnbull, another resident of Port Harcourt said. “The response so far by the media and government does not suggest Lassa is a thing to worry about.”
In Rivers State two persons have died so far since the outbreak of the disease two weeks ago. The state government has also enjoined residents to maintain clean environment and keep their food from rodents.
The Plateau State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Kuden Kumshak a week ago confirmed that a case of Lassa fever has killed one person in Mangu Local Government Area of the state while there are suspected cases which are yet to be confirmed in other local government areas like Jos North, Langtang South, Shendam and Pankshin though the Chairman of Pankshin, Stephen Jings has denied the presence of the disease in the council.
Residents of the state especially in the affected areas are taking steps in clearing refuse dumps to decongest them of rats’ invasion and even the State Commissioner for Environment, Abdullahi Abbas has led a team to clear designated refuse dump sites in Jos-Bukuru metropolis to sanitize the areas and curb the spread of the disease.
There are also jingles being aired in the State Television and Radio stations to create awareness especially in rural communities and the State Government has established Disease Surveillance and Notification Officers in the 17 local government areas of the state to monitor and manage any further cases.
Immediately Niger State was mentioned as one of the 10 new states infected by the Lassa fever a few weeks ago, the state government immediately took the blood samples of those suspected to have been infected from the three communities in Fuka Ward of Muyan Local Government Area of the state and sent their blood samples for laboratory test at the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control in Abuja and Lagos and people of the state have keyed into the campaign strategy of the state government to stop the spread of the disease in the state.
The state Commissioner of Health, Dr. Mustapha Jibril said with the step taken by the state government, the disease has been brought under control as no infection or death has been recorded in the state.
Bauchi State is one of the states affected by the outbreak of Lassa fever in recent weeks. In the month of January, four suspected cases of Lassa fever have been recorded. However, residents in the state have stepped up their personal and environmental hygiene in order to prevent the spread of the disease. When Saturday Vanguard visited some parts of the state metropolis such as markets, abattoirs, restaurants and some residential premises, the environments were now looking clean and kept compared to its previous state.
Dirty places such as gutters, culverts and refuse sites are cleaned up by the cosmopolitan refuse collectors on a daily basis. Grace who is a resident of Gwalameji, a suburb of Bauchi metropolis, said she has now resorted to cleaning all nooks and crannies of her house to keep a healthy environment.
In Kano, Saturday Vanguard investigations revealed that the state government is on top of the situation and there is no new report of any case since the two earlier recorded cases. One hospital has been designated for emergency. Drugs and all other medical consumables have been provided by the state government. Training of health personnel have also been carried out with the establishment of special committee for rapid response.