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Nigeria: Lassa Fever

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    Posted: January 22 2018 at 3:03pm

Nigeria: Yet Another Lassa Fever Outbreak

22 January 2018


The health authorities could do more to contain the viral disease

In yet another indication that when it rains it actually pours for Nigeria, there has been an outbreak of Lassa fever, to add to the several socio-political challenges we are currently grappling with. According to the Ebonyi State Commissioner for Health, Dr Daniel Umezuruike, the outbreak has already claimed the lives of two medical doctors and a nurse while the index patient they treated survived and has been discharged from the hospital. That has prompted Nigerian nurses to call on both Ebonyi and the federal governments to live up to their responsibility and overhaul the health system for efficient and effective care delivery.

In a statement last week, nurses under the auspices of University Graduates of Nursing Science Association (UGONSA), claimed that no fewer than 40 health workers have died of the disease in Ebonyi State alone in the past 13 years. "What we see each time we experience the avoidable death of health workers from Lassa fever is that government officials rush to the press to commiserate with the victims and hypocritically resume the supply of basic personal protective equipment (PPE) and hand sanitisers to hospitals," said the nurses who added that "as soon as the tension dies down, hand sanitisers, PPEs, electricity and even running water disappear and become essential commodities in our hospitals, leaving our compassionate nurses and physicians with the pathetic option of treating patients largely unprotected".


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