Lassa Fever: Senate moves To Curb Killer Disease

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    Senate Chamber

    … Calls On FG, Health Ministry To Provide Adequate Equipments In Treatment Centre

    By Mayowa Okekale, Abuja

    Senate has resolved to mandate committees on Health (Secondary and Tertiary) and Primary Health Care and Communicable Diseases, to investigate steps taken by the Ministry of Health to curb the spread of lassa fever disease in the country.

    The upper chamber, in the same vein, urged the Federal Government through the Ministry of Health to urgently provide the center all necessary equipment to enable it meet its responsibilities to Nigerians seeking medical care at the center

    This followed a motion raised on the ‘Urgent need to support the centre for research, control and treatment of Lassa fever disease in Nigeria’ by Senator Clifford Ordia and Senator Lanre Tejuoso, during the plenary on Thursday.

    Commenting on the development, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu said that the committees in charge must carefully look into the issue and come out with a commendable result.

    He said that “not being able to do this is us abdicating from our responsibilities. The Committees that are responsible must look into this. We need to have sufficient health facilities to prevent our people from traveling abroad.”

    Senator Emmanuel Paulker who represents Bayelsa Central seconded the Motion saying that “having a single center to cater for a country of 180 million people is inadequate.

    “There is a need for us to call on the Health Ministry that the one center that caters for Lassa Fever treatment must have all basic requirements.”

    Contributing to the debate, Senator Ajayi Borrofice, representing Ondo North, admitted that “such outbreaks have the potential to negatively affect the wellbeing of our nation.

    Adding: “About 2 weeks ago, somebody from my constituency died of this disease. This outbreak requires urgent action to curtail its spread and treat those that have already been affected.”

    Senator Barau Jibrin of Kano North, in his contribution, firstly condoled with the families of the victims that have been affectedv saying that “the last time we heard of this outbreak was many years ago and this is unacceptable.

    “There is a serious lapse somewhere and we need to find treatments”, the senator added.

    Lending his voice also to the debate was the lawmaker representing Delta South, Senator James Manager who said “At the end of the day, we must protect the health of our people. He added that “Now that we are undergoing the budget process, we can show seriousness on this issue. Let the funding be provided to decentralize the treatment of such outbreaks.”

    He lamented the security situation of the country while admitting that “Nigeria is like a community that has no boundaries.

    He said: “We must treat this Lassa Fever outbreak as a national emergency. We need to decentralize the treatment centers. When there is an outbreak and regular people are affected, I am alarmed. Now that medical practitioners and doctors are being also affected, I am very very worried.”

    Representing Edo South, Senator Matthew Urhoghide called on the Federal Government to be serious about curbing the outbreak of the disease, maintainig that “If the citizens of a country are not well, then that country is not well.”

    According to him: “the disease is going from Edo to Bayelsa, from there to Anambra… The Federal Government must be serious because anyone can contact this viral infection.”

    He concluded that FG must make efforts to provide more centres where the disease could be treated.

    “When we have a total breakdown of the facilities of the centers that are able to treat Lassa Fever, then there is a problem. We must have a center for the treatment and management of the outbreak.

    “For over 40 years we have been talking about tackling Lassa Fever. This shows the lackadaisical attitude of the Federal Ministry of Health to this issue”, He explained.

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