by Amara Christa
A total of 43 Lassa fever cases index including seven health workers have been reported in Bauchi State out of which no fewer than 16 of them including two medical doctors have been confirmed dead within the three months in the year 2020.
The statistics were made public by the Bauchi State Surveillance Support Officer, Dr Suleiman Lawal, while fielding questions in an interview with journalists at the Lassa fever camp situated at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital (ATBUTH) on Tuesday, explaining that the figures of the confirmed cases were recorded since January 2020.
Dr Sulaiman Lawal said that “Bauchi State has recorded 43 confirmed cases of Lassa fever but two out of this number were brought in from Plateau State. Among these confirmed cases, 16 deaths have been recorded this year. There are also three people that have died of probable cases. They are called ‘probable cases’ because we couldn’t take their samples before they died”.
He added that “Totally, we have seven health workers that were affected. One of the doctors who was pregnant and had the infection, we managed her and discharged her. Four others are currently on admission, we have been managing them”.
“They are now stable, in fact, we will discharge two of them today because they have finished their 10 day treatment period. Two doctors died, one was a doctor that died here (at the ATBUTH) while the other one died in a private clinic here in Bauchi”, he disclosed.
Sulaiman Lawal added that “Most of the deaths are as a result of late reporting and that is not our fault, something will happen and people will not report on time so we are appealing to people to always come on time”.
According to him, the state has received assistance from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children Endowment Fund (UNICEF) in its efforts aimed at reducing the scourge of the disease to the barest minimum even as he appealed to well-meaning members of the public to support in the fight against Lassa fever.
Sulaiman Lawal also said that there are seven pillars that will help in managing the epidemic which he said are: education, communication, risk communication, surveillance, case management, laboratory confirmation and prevention and control.
He pointed out that communication is key in managing the epidemic saying, “If people get the correct information, they will know how protect themselves and this will help in breaking this chain and reducing the spread. Sometimes people feel it has spiritual undertones, but if you give them the correct information, they will know exactly what it is, so communication is a very key pillar in controlling outbreak responses”.
He concluded that, “You know when you have one case and you allow it, it will spread but once you are able to contain it, then you will limit the spread and it will die naturally”