By Olasunkanmi Akoni
The Lagos State Government has begun the training of 342 medical personnel as first-level emergency responders for communicable diseases like coronavirus in the 20 Local Governments Areas and 37 Local Council Development Areas of the state.
Director-General, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, Dr Femi Oke-Osanyintolu disclosed this on Monday while addressing newsmen in Alausa, Ikeja.
Oke-Osanyintolu said the training was a component of collaborative efforts with the Ministry of Health to contain the spread and possibility of entry into Nigeria of communicable diseases such as Coronavirus, Lassa fever and others.
According to him: “Following a directive issued by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, our team has immediately begun a monitoring visit to all councils to ascertain the level of preparedness of all the hospitals and other healthcare facilities in the state.”
Oke-Osanyintolu described coronavirus as a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals,, including camels, cattle, cats and bats.
“Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people such as with MERS, SARS and now with Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic illness caused by Lassa virus, a member of the arenavirus family of viruses.
“Humans usually become infected with Lassa virus through exposure to food or household items contaminated with urine or faeces of infected Mastomys rats. According to World Health Organisation, Lassa fever outbreak is a yearly occurrence during the dry season in Nigeria, but this year’s outbreak is more widespread with 10 states, 140 suspected and 30 confirmed cases.”
The LASEMA boss explained that the risk to individuals was dependent on exposure and that some people would had an increased risk of infection, for example, healthcare workers caring for 2019-nCoV and Lassa fever patients and other close contacts of infected patients.
Oke-Osanyintolu said that Lagos, being a pacesetter must be proactive considering the megacity capacity of the state which could be characterised by the influx of people migrating into the state.