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Environment ministry Launched National Deratization Exercise to Combat Spread of Lassa Fever

By Faridat Salifu

The Honourable Minister of State for Environment, Dr. Iziaq Adekunle Salako, has initiated the launch of the National Deratization Framework, with the primary objective of preventing and controlling the spread of Lassa fever throughout the nation.

Represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Environment, Mahmud Adam Kambari, the Minister conveyed this significant development during a press briefing held in Abuja on Tuesday, February 2024.

The briefing addressed the recent outbreak of Lassa Fever at the 44 Army Referral Hospital in Kaduna State and its subsequent dissemination.

The Minister underscored the collaborative efforts with the State Emergency Response Team (SERT) to decipher the etiological pattern of the disease. Among the 12 suspected cases recorded, six led to fatalities.

Moreover, two cases were identified at Barau Dikko Hospital, while 92 individuals are currently under surveillance as contact persons.

A recent inspection of the affected facility revealed robust measures in place to prevent the spread of the disease, including stringent disinfection and decontamination protocols.

Notably, the effectiveness of treatment utilizing an ITP machine and sodium hydrochloride was confirmed.

Emphasizing the importance of environmental safety, the Minister highlighted the imperative to make the environment inhospitable to disease vectors, particularly rats.

Furthermore, Dr. Yakubu Baba Muhammad, the Registrar of the Environmental Health Council of Nigeria (EHCON), echoed the Minister’s directives, stressing the necessity for deratization across all public and private facilities.

This encompassed hotels, markets, restaurants, and recreation centers, all of which would receive Deratization Exemption Certificates upon compliance.

Dr. Yakubu also outlined plans for extensive capacity building to update practitioners on new control measures and innovations.

Additionally, he emphasized the significance of health education, promotion, and community awareness campaigns as critical components in combatting the spread of Lassa fever.

At the grassroots level, the importance of proper waste management and rat-proofing food stores was highlighted as essential practices. Dr. Yakubu cautioned against the consumption of bushmeat due to the residual effects of the virus, even post-mortem.

In conclusion, Dr. Yakubu underscored the collective responsibility of both government and citizens in tackling the spread of Lassa fever, urging communities to adopt proactive measures to safeguard public health.


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