Kogi State Government on Friday said that it had released N56 million for the treatment of Lassa fever patients in the state. The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Saka Audu, who disclosed this during a stakeholders’ meeting said that N18 million of the amount had been spent on treating patients diagnosed to be having Lassa fever. He added that the government had also released an additional N38 million for the treatment of patients with the disease.
Audu said that the additional funds would enable the ministry to meet up with the 21 days’ ultimatum given by the governor to control and wipe out the disease from the state. The commissioner stated that necessary drugs and equipment had been procured while robust enlightenment and sensitisation programmes had been put in place. According to Audu, 50 suspected cases of the disease were reported out of which 16 tested positive. “The 16 confirmed cases are from: Okene, Okehi, Idah, Ibaji, Dekina and Igalamela / Odolu Local Government Areas,” Audu said. He, however, said that only five patients had been fully treated while the remaining 11 were still undergoing treatment.
He said that measures had been put in place to control the spread of the disease, saying that the bed space for victims at the State Specialist Hospital in Lokoja had been increased from three to eight. The commissioner also said that the patients would, henceforth, be transported in enhanced dedicated ambulances to referral centres as against the present practice of conveying them in commercial vehicles.
He commended the state epidemiology team for a job well done and solicited the intervention of the World Health Organization (WHO). Earlier, the head of the team, Dr Augustine Ojodule, had listed lack of enough volunteers, lack of cooperation from members of the public in tracing patients and inadequate logistics to support contact tracing and case management as some of the challenges facing the team.