The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has said the Federal Government, through its various health agencies, responded promptly to the outbreak of Lassa Fever in Ebonyi State.
The minister, in a statement by his media aide, Kazeem Akintunde, said the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) was in Ebonyi State 48 hours after the news broke.
Adewole said he personally called the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, for detailed briefing after reading about the outbreak.
The statement reads: “We are here to assist states having challenges; it is the duty of the affected states to alert us promptly if there are challenges in their state.
“In the case of Ebonyi State, I called the CMD, not the other way round. Again, the NCDC emergency team moved to Abakaliki 48 hours after we heard of the outbreak.
“What happens is that many of our doctors will start treating for malaria fever, which is okay, but after three days and there are no positive changes, they should think Lassa Fever. But they would wait endlessly before taking any prompt action.
“I will always plead with state government officials to think Lassa fever first so that prompt treatment could be carried out as early as possible. They should also embark on enlightenment campaigns to educate their people on the danger of Lassa fever and how to guard against it.
“I personally visited the state to see things for myself, and to see what further measures we need to put in place to tackle the menace.
“Once again, let me reiterate that the Federal Government is ready to support any state that calls for our help. We need information on time to act promptly.
“We commiserate with those who lost loved ones to the avoidable outbreak.”
The minister enjoined health workers to always obey universal precaution when handling patients and equipment.