The Kogi Government says it has successfully treated and discharged two patients confirmed of Lassa fever in January.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Saka Audu, told newsmen on Tuesday in Lokoja that for the first time in the history of the state they were able to admit confirmed Lassa fever victims, treated and discharged them successfully.
Audu said that the two patients of the same mother, who were admitted into the state’s isolation centre, were certified free of Lassa fever virus and were discharged on Monday.
He said: “We are very happy that the team that actually treated these patients was led by our own doctor in Kogi Specialist Hospital, Dr Lanre Olosunde.
“They did a thorough job, we recorded 100 per cent success rate.
“You will recall we recently lost a medical doctor who was working with FMC, Lokoja, due to Lassa fever infection.
“Also, within the same period the diagnostic centre in Irua, where Lassa fever cases are being handled was filled up.
“It was upon this that His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello, directed that we reactivate our isolation centre and provisions were made for those necessities in order to strengthen Kogi Ministry of Health to handle Lassa fever cases within the state.”
The commissioner noted that Kogi was not having any fresh case of Lassa fever, saying the state has been able to curb further spread of the disease due to community sensitisation.
Audu explained that in spite the financial difficulties facing the state, certain fund was set aside that enabled them to establish a dedicated laboratory and to remodel the Isolation Centre, which was completed before admitting the patients.
He said: “With the strength of Governor Bello’s political will, Kogi is ready to tackle any emergence of Lassa fever and other viral diseases because we have a dedicated laboratory that is fully equipped to tackle them.”
Dr Austin Ojotule, the State Epidemiologist, said that the state had been able to achieve great feat in the treatment of confirmed cases of Lassa fever that were successfully treated.
According to Ojotule, the state recorded about 16 suspected cases of Lassa fever, and their samples taken to Irua for confirmatory test.
He said seven were positive of Lassa fever, out of which three died, two referred to Irua and two successfully treated in Kogi.
Dr Lanre Olosunde, the Team Leader of doctors who treated the Lassa patients, told NAN on telephone that the success was due to the willingness of the government through the ministry of health to provide the necessary support in terms of funds, drugs and materials to manage the Lassa fever cases.
Olosunde added that the preparedness and commitment of the healthcare team, who volunteered to sacrifice in order to provide standard care for the patients, also enhanced the success.
He said: “Good disease surveillance system that resulted in early presentation of the patients to our centre for diagnosis and treatment, and cooperation of the patients’ relatives with the managing team.
“In addition, the special consideration given by Kogi NMA to help respond to the Lassa fever outbreak by allowing doctors to participate in managing these cases in spite the ongoing strike by Kogi doctors.”