The Cross River State Government has stepped up its defense against Lassa Fever in the State by organising a sensitisation and awareness campaign around border communities in the State and also providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for health workers in the State.
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Inyang Asibong, who led the team said the move became necessary as the two cases of Lassa Fever in the State were Migrants coming into the State. She noted during the demonstration that the protective equipment which includes disposable gowns, hand gloves, nose masks, shoe covers and head gear can also be used for other forms of medical emergencies aside from Lassa Fever. The idea is to improve the confidence of health workers whilst protecting them against contracting the disease.
“We are here at the Ikang border in Bakassi LGA which borders Cameroon to sensitise the border community as we have a lot of people coming in and out for leisure and trade purposes, and we’re also aware of the Lassa Fever outbreak which started in Eboyin and ravaging Nigeria.
“We are here to talk to the people about prevention which is key and also sensitise them on the need to practice good environmental and personal hygiene and hand washing as these are some of the best ways of staying safe. This would be replicated across all the borders in the State as we are leaving no stone unturned in our drive to strengthen our borders against disease migration.
“Sen. (Prof) Ben Ayade is very particular about making sure staff are healthy and the health workers are comfortable when talk to action, which is why the State has donated Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to be used by health workers in tackling Lassa Fever and other hemorrhaging conditions. If the health workers are confident when attending to patients we would be sure of not losing health workers as the cases we’ve had before.”
Also speaking was the DG of the Cross River State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Betta Edu, who said the State has been put on redalert following the outbreak in Ebonyi State which borders Cross River State. She said the State has activated it’s Emergency Response Unit, set up a task force committee as well as isolation units and also created community sensitization messages and activities across the State.
She also said that the community health workers have been well equipped and are on the alert to pickup patient showing signs of any endemic disease as displayed in the flyers and posters distributed in the community.
Other members of the team include the Director of Public Health in the State, Dr Iwara Iwara, the State Mobilization Officer; Mrs. Victoria Inyang, the Disease Surveillance and Nutrition Officers, Community Health Extension Workers and Primary Health Care workers in the area, Community leaders among others.
Lassa Fever is caused by the droppings Mastomys Natalensis which is commonly found in the West African region, and the practice of good environmental hygiene, improved personal hygiene, hand washing and eating properly cooked foods are some of the best ways of preventing the disease.