Tuesday 11 February 2020

Atakumosa West Central LCDA Intensifies Sensitization on Lassa Fever

As part of ongoing efforts to contain the spread of Lassa fever, the Local Council Development Area of Atakumosa West Central, under the administration of Hon. Anthony Adeboye has taken the campaign on personal and environmental hygiene to the rural communities of the Council.

Recall that all Local Councils Chairmen across the State of Osun have been instructed by the State Governor, Mr. Gboyega Oyetola to carry out sensitization campaign in their various communities, villages, places of work, individual homes and even across market squares and churches so everyone will be aware of Lassa fever prevention.

The sensitization, which was held in Adimula Hall, Ifewara on Monday 10th of February, 2020 focused principally on key messages on Lassa fever, raising public awareness to prevent the epidemics

During the sensitization Sanitarian Tutu Adejuwon from Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, (OAUTH), Ile-Ife gave key messages on Lassa fever in Yoruba local language to  community representatives as he confirmed that a patient that was on admission on Lassa fever related complicatiins in Ile-Ife OAUTH has died.

The entire health team of the council led by Sanitarian Folasade Fakunle also carried out a rigorous sensitization exercise on the steps and modalities that will help prevent and control Lassa Fever with visible pictures and flyers.

Sanitarian Tutu Adejuwon presented a step by step guide, stating clearly what Lassa Fever is, how it can spread, the signs and symptoms of Lassa Fever, the treatment, as well as prevention of the spread of Lassa fever and what should be done in any case of suspected infected persons.

In his exposition, Sanitarian Adejuon explained that lassa fever is spread through direct contact with urine, faeces, saliva or blood of infected rodents ingestion of food and drinks contaminated with urine, faeces, saliva or blood of infected rats.

"Contact with objects, household items or surfaces contaminated with urine, faeces, saliva or blood of infected rat person-to-person transmission can also occur through contact with blood, urine, faeces, vomitus and other body fluids of infected persons particularly in hospital environments where infection prevention and control practices are not optimal." He said.

He also took ample time to elaborate on signs and symptoms of the disease. He said that the early stages of Lassa fever present initially like other febrile illnesses such as malaria. Symptoms of the disease generally include fever, headache, sore throat, general body weakness, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle pains, chest pains and in severe cases, unexplainable bleeding from the ears, eyes, nose, mouth, vagina, anus and other body orifices. It could also present as persistent bleeding from sites of intravenous cannulation.

The incubation period (time between infection and appearance of a symptom of the disease) is 3-21 days. Early diagnosis and treatment, increases the chances of survival. Appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, face mask, goggles which he brought with him and showed to his listeners also decreases the risk of person-to-person transmission of Lassa fever.

Adejuwon also highlighted the preventive measures that can be carried out reduce the risk of Lassa fever. "Practice of good personal hygiene by frequent handwashing with soap under running water and or use of hand sanitizers when appropriate." Are some of the instructions he gave.

He also highlighted the storage of foodstuff like rice, garri, beans, corn etc. in containers with tight-fitting lids. Avoidance of drying of foodstuff outside on the floor and by the roadside where they can be exposed to contamination. Proper covering of dustbin and disposal of refuse. Dumpsites should be set up very far from homes. Clearing the environment regularly. Avoidance of bush burning which can lead to the displacement of rats from bushes to a human dwelling. Elimination of rats in homes and communities by setting rat traps and other means and the disposal of all health care waste in a safe manner.

Responding to questions from a participant that asked if all high body temperature is a symptom of the disease he said, any febrile illness that has not responded to 48hrs use of antimalarial or antibiotics should report to the nearest health facility for proper evaluation and treatment and all health workers should maintain a high index of suspicion as Lassa fever can present like malaria fever and other febrile illnesses.

"It is very important that health workers maintain standard precaution while managing patients." Sanitarian Adejuwon concluded.

In his contribution the Council Chairman, Hon. A. Adeboye charged all participants to become Lassa Fever prevention ambassadors as he implored all to propagate the preventive methods that were discussed at the sensitization programme.

Present at the sensitization were Oba Hezekiah Adeniyi Owolola, the Adimula of Ifewara, Chief Fajemirokun, the Obalufe of Ifewara, Chief Dayo Ogundele the Asiwaju of Ifewara, Chief Yekini Gbolaru, the Olumelu of Imelu-Ifewara and host of other community leaders.

From the LCDA are Hon. Anthony Adeboye the Chairman, Mrs. Tejumade Olanrewaju, the Council Manager, Alhaji Mudasiru Bello, the APC Chairman, Hon. Fakuwajo, the Vice-Chairman, Hon. Jumoke Bepo, Mr. Soji Olukanni, Mrs. Juliet Williams, the Council accountant, Sanitarian Folasade Fakunle and there were good representations from all the political wards of the LCDA particularly from Ifelodun Ward 5 comprising of Ijana, Epe, Igbadae, Iju, Igun and Ward 6, ward 10 and 11.

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