The Federal Government said on Tuesday that Lassa fever has claimed 63 lives out of 212 suspected reported from 62 local government areas in affected states.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, confirmed this at the emergency National Council of Health meeting in Abuja on the outbreak of the disease.
Adewole listed the 17 affected states as Bauchi, Niger, Taraba, Kano, Rivers, Oyo, Ondo, Edo, Plateau, Gombe, Nasarawa, Lagos, Delta, Ekiti, Ebonyi, Zamfara and Kogi as well as the FCT. He said there is high level of denial and conspiracy across some states, adding that health managers should not deceive executives by the pretence and silence.
The minister described the denial of Ebonyi to report five suspected cases and one death as conspiracy of denial. He said every state should consider itself at risk and put measures to contain and prevent the disease.
Adewole said the federal government would maintain high level of alert all year round to celebrate Lassa fever obituary next year. “With the resources available we will collectively eliminate the disease in Nigeria soon. “We have special facilities around us and we have adequate human resource to address the challenge.
“We will strengthen the Primary Health Care Centres across the country to enhance the surveillance mechanism,’’ he said. The minister said 5,000 Primary Health Care centres would be activated before the end of 2016.
“A committee had already been set up to map out health care centres across the country would benefit from the programme. “At least one primary health care centre will be functional in a ward,’’ said Adewole. In a related development, the minister announced that six most affected states will have Lassa fever diagnostic centres. He said the states are Niger, Nasarawa, Taraba, Plateau, Bauchi and Ondo states; this is in addition to the six existing Lassa fever treatment centres.
According to him, the centres are Lassa fever Treatment Centre, Irrua, Edo; University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Maiduguri, Borno; Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano. Others are Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), University College Hospital Ibadan, and the National Centre for Disease Control, Asokoro, Abuja.