Lassa fever : Betta Edu calls for frequent hand washing practice


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By: Anita Ekpenyong, Calabar

The Commissioner for Health in Cross River State, Dr Betta Edu has called on the populace to practice frequent hand washing using soap and water in order to prevent spreading of diseases.
Dr Edu made the call recently during a Coordination meeting with the State Emergency Preparedness Team at Moore road, Calabar.

She observed that most health related problems are associated with poor hiegene adding that, if people inculcate hand washing as a habit, most health challenges would have been reduced to barest level.

The Commissioner commended the State Emergency Preparedness Team, Health Care Workers, World Health Organization (WHO), the Police, Navy, Army and other stakeholders for being proactive and supportive towards the fight against the anticipated disease outbreak by encouraging environmental cleanliness to wade off vermin especially rats and rodents; vectors of Lassa fever that is currently affecting some states in Nigeria.

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Dr Edu urged people to be vigilant and observe any sign of disease outbreak and report immediately to the nearest health facility for prompt action, explaining that early diagnosis of diseases can help to prevent their spread and other problems associated with them.

She informed that Ministry of Health in collaboration with Emergency Preparedness Team is going round to sensitise people on prevention and control of Lassa fever if it occurs, hinting that already, the State has received some commodities, PPEs Equipment, Ribavirin among other things and that they have started distributing them to health facilities across the State.

The Director General, Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Jane Ekpeyong disclosed that the Agency has trained and sensitised Primary Health Care Coordinators, visited some Stakeholders in Communities and had advised them to step down the training to community leaders and other stakeholders to keep many people abreast with the problem and how to manage it if it occurs.

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Also speaking, the State Epidemiologist, Mrs Inyang Ekpeyong said surveillance and sensitization have been scaled up in the State, reiterating that there’s no confirmed Lassa fever case in Cross River State and therefore, appealed to the government to provide IEC materials to enable them share to people for more information and necessary guidance. She also called for the supply of hand washing facilities and hand sanitizers. She later thanked the Emergency Preparedness Team for their love and selfless service.

In a presentation, the World Health Organization State focal Person, Mr Bernard Ntui disclosed that WHO is supporting Countries having disease outbreaks with guidelines on how to manage the diseases, train them on risk communications and surveillance, work with Global networks of researchers and experts to deliver accurate, updated information, developing diagnostics, SARS protocols among others.

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While lamenting on China’s high risk of 844 confirmed cases on Corona Virus, 25 deaths,16 health Care Workers testing positive, Mr Ntui advised people on hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene by covering of mouth and nose with a medical mask, tissue or a sleeve when coughing and sneezing.

He warned people to avoid unprotected and close contact with anyone developing cold or flu- like symptoms, fever, cough or difficult breathing as possible.



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