Following the outbreak of Lassa Fever in Ondo State, the state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on Sunday warned members of the public in the state against unhygienic living condition.
No fewer than 100 cases had been recorded at various health centres across the 18 local government areas of the state with the highest casualties recorded in Owo and Ose Local Government Areas of the state.
The state Chairman of CAN, Revd. Ayo Oladapo, in a letter written to all churches in the state, called on its members to always observe the clean environment, urging them to always be mindful of rats and rodents in their residences.
According to the letter made available to our correspondent, about 80 cases had been reported at various health centres in the state.
The letter reads in part: “I have just been informed through the representative of the government that there is an outbreak of Lassa Fever in the state. About 80 cases have been confirmed.
“All our Churches should please sensitise their members to cover their food properly and eradicate the existence of rats in their vicinities.
“Announcement should be made on pulpits and in all our services. May God deliver us all from all deadly diseases in Jesus name.”
However, the state governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, on Sunday inaugurated an Emergency Response Committee on the deadly disease, following the reported outbreak of the fever in the state.
The committee, headed by the state Commissioner for Health, Dr Wahab Adegbenro, has the General Manager of Ondo State Waste Management Authority, Mrs Bola Akinyanmi, as its secretary.
Other member of the Committee include,the General Manager of Ondo State Waste Management Authority, Mrs Bola Akinyanmi, as Secretary, the Commissioner for Environment, Mr Funso Esan; Special Adviser to the Governor on Union Matters, Mr Alaba Isijola; Chairman, Caretaker Committee of Owo Local Government Council, Hon Benjamin Adebayo, Acting Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Dipo Durojaye, Managing Director ZL Global Ltd, Dr Abiola Bashorun and Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Yemi Olowolabi among others.
The committee was charged to ensure that Lassa Fever was flushed out of the state within the shortest possible time. Also, the committee was to embark on campaigns, advocacy visits to royal fathers and religious leaders and to identify an appropriate dump site for human wastes.
Speaking after its inaugural meeting, the Chairman of the Committee, Dr Adegbenro, said the sensitisation campaigns would be to crisscross the state on the need for residents to keep their environment clean and live hygienic lives at all times.
He said: “Our people need to maintain cleaner environments, shun the habit of indiscriminate dumping of refuse around your homes so as not to attract rats. The government has set in motion immediate plans to evacuate all dump sites to keep rats far away.
“The original source is from rats to human, but we have lots of human to human transmission and this is more reason it is imperative to report any suspicious case to the nearest health facility where necessary tests would be carried out to ascertain if it is malaria or not so as to have such patient appropriately referred.
“It is part of our culture to care for our sick ones, but while doing that, we must be very careful bearing in mind, the outbreak of this deadly disease.”