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Lassa fever: 3 more test positive at LUTH, 150 under watch



LAGOS—Three persons under surveillance for Lassa fever at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, have tested positive to the disease.

This came as Lagos State Government, yesterday, urged Lagosians not to panic, saying the epidemic was near containment in the state. Also, 150 people exposed to the cases are now under surveillance.

Meanwhile, as part of efforts to contain the spread of the contagious disease, the Lagos State Government has taken over the burial of the corpse of the second index case at LUTH. Disclosing these and other developments in a joint press conference of LUTH and Lagos State Ministry of Health, the Chief Medical Director, Prof Chris Bode, explained that the current outbreak was being effectively traced in the field, adding that all persons currently exposed to the index cases were being effectively treated.

“The outbreak is under control. We have enough drugs and we have received enough assistance from partners. Let us please douse the panic created by unguarded statements and if anyone needs to make enquiries, we have already provided hotlines for this,’’ he said. Bode, who was optimistic that the outbreak would be defeated, explained that corpses of the deceased who came from neighbouring states, had been professionally managed.

He added that each of the cases had been managed in other facilities before they were referred to LUTH. He said the infected resident doctor and others that tested positive to the Lassa virus were responding to treatment. “She (the doctor) is in good state of health. Once Lassa fever is detected early and treatment initiated, there is every cause to be optimistic of recovery of the patient. ‘’We have four beds in the isolation unit which is completely self-contained and have rooms for nurses and doctors, where they can change, and they have their own toilets and bathrooms.

“It has regular supply of electricity and water, fully air conditioned and we follow international standard procedure in attending to the patients,’’ he said. While disclosing that the hospital has made necessary arrangement for additional spaces for any likely cases from within or outside the hospital, he explained that ‘workers and other people who have been exposed to the cases have been profiled.

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“All those under surveillance have been given thermometers to check their temperature in case of any unusual rise in body temperature. The LUTH workers, who came in contact directly with the first patient, were close to 100 and they were swiftly informed and each of them is still being followed up for any early signs of Lassa fever. “Of the 100, three persons, who developed symptoms tested positive and have been on admission and receiving treatment in our Isolation Ward here in LUTH.” He urged all hospitals across the state to maintain high index of suspicion and contact LUTH on 08058019466, 08058744780, 07035521015 and 08023299445.

No cause for alarm — LASG Speaking, the Director of Disease Control, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr Eniola Erinosho, who called for caution to avoid unnecessary panic over the outbreak, said the state was near containing the outbreak. According to him, the Lagos State Ministry of Health had directed its Epidemiology Unit to move into LUTH immediately it was notified about the development on August 3, 2017 in order to prevent further spread of the disease. “We are on top of the situation and there should be no panic, and again the index case mentioned was referred from Divine Grace Hospital Imota, Ikorodu area of Lagos.

We have been to Imota and have taken charge of the situation, but none of them have actually come down with the fever. “We have about 22 people there. Today is 14 days of monitoring and we hope in the next seven days, they will be discharged from monitoring list. At present, we have two cases at the Mainland Hospital but they are under control,’’ he said. “It is only when we have immediate contact that we restrict their movement. You can’t pass the virus until you show signs and symptoms.

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But when they present with high temperature we move them to isolation wards.” Erinosho disclosed further that already, the state government was taking over the 2nd corpse which was still in LUTH’s possession, since the index case had been moved to Ilesha in order to conduct the burial according to international standards. “In case of death, we use body bags and we seal the coffin and the relatives will not see the body.

From there, we have special unit in the Ministry called ‘State Environmental Monitoring Unit’ that carries out the procedure.” LUTH-ARD, NMA react Reacting to the development, President, Association of Resident Doctors, LUTH-ARD, Dr Adebayo Sekunmade, who confirmed that one of their members had tested positive to the disease, tasked management of the hospital to provide enough Personal Protective Equipment, PPE, necessary for the management of the situation. “Some resident doctors volunteered to treat those 100 people under surveillance but we want the management to handle the situation more carefully.

The volunteer resident doctors and nurses should not come to the general wards or move around the premises. “They should be appropriately monitored and also protected so as to prevent further casualties,” he noted. Reacting to the development in a telephone chat with Vanguard, Lagos State Chairman of Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, Dr Olumuyiwa Odusote, who described the situation as unfortunate, urged the federal and state governments to scale up level of emergency preparedness in order to respond swiftly in situations of outbreak. He called on the government to procure Personal Protection Equipment, PPE, in all hospitals across the country.

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“When we observe this international standard of responding to situations like this, it will reduce the chances of medical doctors and other health workers falling victim.” Meanwhile, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Primary Health Care, Dr. Olufemi Onanuga, in a statement issued by the LSMOH confirmed that laboratory results of the two suspected cases at the Mainland Hospital, Yaba, were negative.

Onanuga said the two patients were referred from the General Hospital, Lagos and a private hospital in Imota, Ikorodu. He called on residents to be calm and not panic, assuring them that Federal Government in active collaboration with the State Government is doing everything possible to control the spread of the Lassa Fever in Lagos State. 4 quarantined in Yobe hospital Four people are being quarantined for clinical analysis in Yobe over suspected case of Lassa fever, Dr Bello Kawuwa, the state Commissioner for Health said, yesterday.

Kawuwa told newsmen in Damaturu that seven people were initially held, but three had been discharged after clinical analysis. The commissioner said though, earlier results did not indicate that the four people have Lassa fever, a second laboratory test would be carried out on them.



Go for test, COVID-19 not defeated yet, Oyo govt. urges residents



The Seyi Makinde led – Oyo state government,on Tuesday urged residents of the state with signs and defined symptoms of the COVID-19 to submit themselves for testing, adding that the state  is yet to defeat the virus.

The state government also urged them to adhere strictly to the preventive protocols as enumerated by the  experts.

Dr Bashir Bello, the Commissioner for Health, who spoke at a sensitization program organized for journalists in the state on COVID-19, held at Kakanfo Inn in Ibadan disclosed that the state had some high rise in the positivity rates recently which the government is steering up to.

Dr. Bello averred that the flouting of COVID-19 protocols during the #EndSARS protests which rocked the country over the last few weeks is no doubt going to increase the rate of transmission of the virus, but assured that the state is prepared to tackle any upsurge; stressing that the permanent structures have been put in place to fight the virus on a long term note.

The Commissioner, who admitted that testing has reduced in the state, further explained that factors like stigmatization and fear are responsible for the reduction in the rate COVID-19 tests are conducted in the state.

“We are meant to give people initiative. As you have seen that the problem of stigmatization is one of the problems that we are having. You could now see that the few positively tested ones are refusing to give us their contacts. First of all, they don’t want the public to know that they have tested positive. Two, since they know it has affected you, you are now pointing to other people.

“So what actually happen is that we have left those centres, about 27 centres out of the 33 LCDAs so that people can willfully go without the problem of being stigmatized. It’s a place you can walk to without people knowing you. It’s like the HIV in those days that we were begging people to do test. HIV has now become a common thing even every pregnant woman is ready to get tested.

“So this COVID-19 issue has not been… although we still know we have it. For example, we are having high rises in the positivity rate which the government is steering up to and thanks to God we are not unprepared. We have had a very good output. A reliable arrest of the case but it is just like the motto of the ‘Boys Scout’ which is: we are prepared.

“We are only telling the public that COVID-19 is still very much around and we implore each and everyone of us to at their own free will go and get tested. Nobody will report that because we only send you the result through a coded number and a coded message to your personal phone number which you will have given in the form which is a fairly confidential way”, he added.

He also revealed that Oyo State is the only state where residents can undergo COVID-19 test free of charge,noting that other states now charge various amounts of money.

The Commissioner, however stated that the only set of people who pay to undergo COVID-19 test in the state are those who are planning to travel out of the country and they need a proof to certify that they are COVID-19 free.

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Oyo govt. launches plan to reduce maternal, neonatal mortality rates, unveils ‘T’ỌMỌ T’ÌYÁ Initiative’



Oyo  State government on Wednesday, launched the ‘T’ỌMỌ T’ÌYÁ Initiative,’ an effort aimed at reducing infant and maternal mortality rate in the state.

The programme, which was inaugurated at the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan, was equally aimed at improving the quality of reproductive, maternal, neonatal and child healthcare across the state.

Governor Seyi Makinde, who was represented by his deputy, Engr. Rauf Olaniyan, said at the launching of the initiative, that it aims to, among other things, reduce maternal mortality rate by 30 per cent and neonatal mortality rate by 20 per cent.

According to a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, following the launch of the initiative, the number of births by skilled birth in the state will increase by 30 per cent while the healthcare facility utilization in the state will also rise to 60 per cent.

While inaugurating the steering and technical working committees, the governor stated that the committees will oversee all the reproductive, maternal, newborn and Child health (RMNCH) programmes in the state, while giving insights into the direction things should go.

He assured that the state, through the initiative, will meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Number Three, which targets improving maternal health.
He said: “It is this project that we are here today to inaugurate – the T’ỌMỌ T’ÌYÁ Initiative. As the name suggests, the initiative is for the mother and child. It is one key way through which we will be meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) number three, which targets improving maternal health.

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“Our plan is to ensure that qualitative Maternal and Child Healthcare services are offered at minimal cost. This will enable us to meet the objectives of this initiative.
“We are aware that in 2023, when this administration will be winding down, there will be another NDHS report. When that report comes out, we would like to see drastic reductions in these negative indices. Our goal is to reduce maternal mortality by 30 per cent and reduce neonatal, infant and child mortality by 20 per cent in Oyo State.

“To achieve this, by the grace of God and with the dedication, hard work and commitment of everyone involved in this project, we aim to increase the number of births by skilled birth attendants in the state by 30 per cent while also increasing the health care facility utilization in the state to 60 per cent.”

The governor added that the state will begin a pilot testing of some of the programmes under the initiative, noting that the state will advocate the meeting of the World Health Organisation recommendation of four or more antenatal care visits during pregnancy.

“So, we hope to start piloting some of the programmes under this initiative in the shortest possible time. One of the important things we will be advocating is meeting the WHO recommendation of four or more antenatal care visits during pregnancy.

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“The statistics show that when pregnant women are able to make at least four visits, the major complications that account for nearly 75 per cent of all maternal deaths are prevented.”
Governor Makinde, therefore, lauded the implementing partners for accepting to be members of the T’ỌMỌ T’ÌYÁ Initiative, saying: “As you embark on your deliberations to provide a blueprint on how we are to achieve these objectives, I must especially thank the implementing partners for accepting to be members of this important initiative. I pray that your source of ideas never runs dry as you think up creative ways of getting us off that list of worsts,” the governor said.

Speaking earlier, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Bashir Bello, said the initiative is meant to ensure the welfare of the women before, during and after birth, particularly the new life they are bringing forth.

He added that the present administration in the state is committed to improving the health sector and changing the undesirable indices recorded in the National Child Health.
The Commissioner further hinted that the government will work towards seeing that every pregnant woman is insured with the support of local governments.

He said: “It is our belief that every pregnant woman, henceforth, will not only be insured but will also be given the necessary attention. With our authenticated preparation of the delivery, we are sure of what we are going to deliver. The very best attention we give to such a neonate will determine what is going to become of his or her future life.”

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Also speaking, the Special Adviser to Governor Makinde on Health, Dr. Funmi Salami, said the T’ỌMỌ T’ÌYÁ Initiative will contribute to a healthier and more prosperous society, as healthy babies grow into healthy adults who thrive and can contribute to their communities and society.

She stated that the mission of the initiative is to facilitate a consultative process among all stakeholders to identify priority areas and identify clear strategic directions for Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (RMNCH).

The event had the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Chief Bisi Ilaka; Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Dr. Wasiu Olatunbosun; chairman, Hospital Management Board, Dr. Gbola Adetunji; Special Adviser to the Governor on Media, Mr. Jide Ajani; Representative of UNICEF, Tushar Ranee; Representative of WHO, Dr. Marcus Oluwadare and a host of others in attendance.

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COVID-19: Oyo govt. urges residents to go for testing



The Emergency Operations Centre, EOC, of the  Oyo State COVID-19 Task Force has called on residents of the state to avail themselves the opportunities of its decentralised testing system, to get themselves tested for the virus.

The Task Force added that contrary to misinformation that the virus has been defeated, it is still very much active, warning that adequate and observance of all the safety protocols remained the effective ways of combating the virus.

The Task Force, also said it has released a list of locations where residents of the state can undertake COVID-19 tests across the state.

According to a  statement signed  by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, the list of centres was ratified on Monday at the state’s COVID-19 Task Force meeting presided by Governor Makinde.

The statement added that the available testing centres in the state include: State Hospital, Oyo; General Hospital, Saki; General Hospital, Iseyin; General Hospital, Igboora; General Hospital, Apata, Ibadan; Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba, Ibadan; Health is Wealth, Secretariat Road, Ibadan; and LAUTECH Teaching Hospital, Ogbomoso.

It added that testing is also available in approved private laboratories across the state, stressing that residents can call the following numbers for enquiries: 08095394000, 08078288999, 08078288800, 08095863000 or dial *723*19*6# and follow the promptings.

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