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Thu, Apr

FG To Launch Nationwide Exercise To Tackle Spread Of Lassa Fever

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The Federal Government (FG) through the Federal Ministry of Environment has launched the National Deratization framework exercise aimed at preventing and controlling the spread of Lassa fever across the country. This was made known during a press briefing by Mahmud Kambari, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Environment who represented the Minister of State for Environment, Dr Iziaq Salako.

He said, “I stand to provide an update on the recent outbreak of Lassa fever reported by 44 Army Reference Hospital in Kaduna State and subsequent spread of the disease in the state.

“The general hygiene and cleanliness of the hospital was assessed as well as measures put in place to prevent the spread of the disease through disinfection and decontamination were both deemed effective and found adequate.

“The team further confirmed the efficacy of the treatment by using an ITP machine and use of sodium hydrochloride in correct proportion and formulation to ensure safety of the facility.

“The team recommended that the facility be deratized to reduce the population of the disease carrying vector, specifically rats.”

In his remarks, the Registrar of the Environmental Health Council of Nigeria (EHCON), Dr. Yakubu Muhammad, restated the Minister’s directive that both public and private facilities should undergo derating exercise, after which a Derating Exemption Certificate would be issued to them by EHCON.

He said the Ministry has tasked the Council to conduct massive capacity building to update relevant stakeholders on new approaches to control and tackle the spread of the disease, adding that components of health education and creation of awareness in communities also plays a vital role.

Yakubu said, “At the community level, the issue of waste management cannot be overemphasized. At this time and period, remnant food should not be exposed while our food stuff and stores should be rats proof. In the character of rats, once there is no food, rats vacate the house.”

He also urged famers to avoid using roads to dry farm products because rats can urinate and defecate on the farm products, thereby causing contamination from faeces containing the lassa virus.