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Lassa fever: Reps summons Minister of health

by Muhammad Sani

By Ndidi Chukwu

Following the spread of the Lassa fever virus across Nigerian States, the House of Assembly Members summoned the Honourable Minister of Health, Professor Issac Adewole to brief the house on the current status of the outbreak in Nigeria.

The briefing which took place at the National Assembly complex on Tuesday, in Abuja, was in response to the invitation extended to the Minister by the joint committees to intimate the house and place on record the Ministry’s preparedness to tackle the menace.

The Honourable Minister of Health briefed the House of Representatives’ joint Committees of Health institutions and Health care services on the current status of the outbreak of Lassa fever in the country and efforts to contain the spread in his presentation, titled, ‘Laying the foundation for a multi –sectorial Response to Lassa Fever.

Professor Adewole who explained that the disease had become endemic in the West African region in view of this, the Minister said that the Federal Ministry of Health had inaugurated a ministerial committee, comprising of Ministries of Information, Environment and

Agriculture added that Lassa fever eradication committee has various sub-committees on Advocacy, Mapping, Surveillance amongst others, had also been inaugurated.

The Minister also informed that the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) is ready to reactivate more laboratories, improve environmental sanitation and do away with the conspiracy of silence which he said was responsible for the high rate of mortality recorded by most communities who did not inform health care workers on time about the disease.

Responding, the Chairman of the joint committee, Honourable Chike John Okafor, said that the house was motivated to invite the minister for the briefing based on the need to stop further spread due to the increasing loss of lives because of the disease.

Honourable Okafor then commended the FMOH for not relenting on its oars to put the disease at bay. He stated that he was optimistic that the Ministry was equal to the task as it is also getting Nigeria close to being certified by WHO as a polio free nation.

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