*Tension as health officials invade journalists in frantic efforts to suppress report
There is increasing tension in Anambra state with the death of a medical doctor and three others who have reportedly died of the dreaded Lassa fever in the state.
This was disclosed at a One-day Lassa fever training workshop organized by the state Ministry of Health.
Dr Jane Ezeonu, one of the key resource persons confirmed that the medical doctor died at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital (NAUTH) Nnewi, three days ago.
The state director of Public Health, Dr Emmanuel Okafor also confirmed that the state had recorded the death of three others too, recently.
Dr. Ezeonu stated that the late medical doctor, who was the prime case was referred to NAUTH from Asaba, the Delta state capital.
He warned Anambra citizens to stop drinking raw garri, or eating unprotected food.
He also cautioned that they should protect their food and related items from rats contact.
She explained that people don’t acquire immunity after suffering from Lassa fever, as erroneously believed in some uninformed quarters.
She reiterated that general hygiene was very important in Lassa fever prevention.
On his part, Dr Okafor said the essence of the workshop was to train professionals who would go to the grassroots to educate the people on the prevention and all they need to know about the disease.
According to him, “In Anambra we don’t know the number of cases of the disease but we have three confirmed deaths so far.”
He, then, called on health workers in the state to exercise high standard in handling the established cases.
While assuaging the rising tension and fears about the spread, Dr Okafor said the state government had put proactive measures to handle the scourge.
There were established moves by top officials from the state’s Ministry of Health to suppress the spread of information on the presence of the disease.
Frantic efforts to stop journalists from disseminating the information were resisted as they had already sent it out.
Meanwhile, a school of thought advised that the Commissioner would not be doing anyone and the government any good by suppressing the spread of the report on the deadly disease.
An early warning to the citizens would help put them on notice on how to protect themselves.
It was pointed out that this was the second time he was trying to cover up the outbreak of such ailment in the state.
And many feared it was reason the diseases keep spreading quietly.
The Permanent Secretary in the state ministry of health, Dr Okwuchukwu Chukwuka said there was no epidemic of the disease in the state.
He said the training workshop was a proactive measure.
Dr. Chukwuka represented the Commissioner for Health, Dr Joe Akabuike.
Hear him: “It is a training workshop for health professionals in the 21 local government areas of the state who would sensitize and disseminate information about Lassa fever to the grassroots.
“We are having the workshop for prevention, not that we have an epidemic in the state, Chukwuka said.
From Chuks Collins, Awka