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JCI Kicks Lassa Fever out of Ibadan in awareness campaign

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An image of the Lassa fever disease depicted by a rat, being kicked out of Ibadan, had also been circulating social media platforms, with an invitation to join the awareness rally which was scheduled to hold at the Oje market on Saturday.

“Beere… Beere Oje… Oje… Beere Oje”

I had heard these destinations bellowed by bus conductors in Ibadan for over thirteen years, but only today, January 30, 2016, was I privileged to visit the famous market and its environs.

Earlier in the week, my attention had been drawn to a vibrant awareness campaign against Lassa fever on different media platforms by members of the Junior Chamber International, Ibadan chapter.

I had even listened in on a radio program where the Chapter President was discussing the purpose and commitment of the organization to the campaign.

An image of the Lassa fever disease depicted by a rat, being kicked out of Ibadan, had also been circulating social media platforms, with an invitation to join the awareness rally which was scheduled to hold at the Oje market on Saturday.

As a self-acclaimed Ibadan citizen who has been perpetually embarrassed for my inadequate knowledge of the map of the city, even though I was armed with little or no knowledge about the said virus except that it sounded like LASTMA, the opportunity to traverse the streets of a popular local Ibadan market in the company of an elite crowd was not something I could pass on.

And thankfully I did not.

Young men and women trekked en masse, clad in their white “KickLassaFeverOut” t-shirts from the Agodi area of Ibadan through the streets of Ali Iwo and Oje, educating residents, food sellers and passersby about the Lassa virus.

The rally advanced to the center of the Oje market where they assembled and the final sensitization took place with one-on-one educative conversations with the market men and women.

The team focused on educating people about the importance of cleanliness, avoiding foods contaminated by rats, eradicating rodents from homes and shop areas, as well as the symptoms of Lassa fever and the need for urgent medical attention in suspected cases.

The market sellers showed enthusiasm and immense interest in the information being shared, beckoning repeatedly to members of the team to express their concerns and request for additional information.

Items including rat killers and other substances for eradicating rodents were also purchased in the market and distributed to sellers free of charge, to enable them prevent the possible spread of the Lassa virus.

The JCI Ibadan team was received with excitement and gratitude by the sellers, with many market women showering prayers of good health and long life on the team for taking the initiative to educate the good people of Ibadan on such a pressing public health issue.

 

Adeola, Agriculturalist, Youth/Student Advocate and Development Practitioner


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