By Justice Nwafor
Minister for Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole has blamed states of the federation for allowing the dreaded Lassa Fever virus hit their states in what is seen as the disease’s 2018 renewed surge.
He said the states were complacent and did not take seriously the various warnings the ministry gave concerning the virus, revealing that if they had been been proactive as warned, the virus would not have claimed more than 31 lives of innocent Nigerians, in its recent surge.
He stated this recently in Abuja at an emergency meeting of the National Council on Health held in Abuja.
Prof Adewole blamed the further spread of the disease on the lack of preparedness and lateness of response of the state ministries of health to the outbreak.
He singled out the state commissioners for health for blame, noting that “this is the failures of the commissioners to notify their governors of the need for preparation and early detection in each states”.
According to him, “We knew there were going to be cases of Lassa Fever in the country and the Federal Ministry of Health had started preparation for 2018 since March 2017. Materials and training courses were given to states as at June and August respectively and by December we had written advisory letters to the states.
“It is sad that in spite of all the effort, we still failed. That is why we called this meeting”, he stated.
Recall that the disease has hit 15 states with 105 laboratory confirmed cases, three probable cases and 31 deaths, while in 2018 alone, Nigeria recorded 77 cases, according to the minister.
The affected states are: Bauchi, Plateau, Taraba, Nasarawa, Benue, Kogi, Ebonyi, Rivers, Imo, Anambra, Edo, Delta, Ondo, Osun and Lagos states.
Nigeria has been a hotbed of other common diseases which have been ravaging the country since 2016, such as measles, polio, meningitis, cholera, yellow fever and Monkey-pox