…Says, FG, Minister on track to eradicate disease
The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has commended the government over the outcome of the Tuesdays emergency meeting of the National Council on Health(NCH) in Abuja, which include the establiment of additional eight Lassa fever diagnostic centres in the country within the next three months, among other measures to eradicate the disease.
According to PSN, the outlined measures of NCH deliberations as contained in the communique is indicative of the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari and Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) under the supervision of the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac F. Adewole and his team from the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organisation (WHO) to eradicate Lassa Fever in the country.
In a statement on Thursday, jointly signed by the newly elected president of the association, Ahmed Yakasai and Pharm. Gbolagade Iyiola, National Secretary, PSN, which was made available to Newswatch Times, the duo lauded the strategies employed by Prof. Adewole in combating the disease since its outbreak, noting that it is indicative of the federal government’s commitment to urgently control it.
The federal government on Tuesday said that it will establish eight additional Lassa fever diagnostic centres across the country within the next three months.
Prof. Adewole, said the development is to make diagnosis and treatment of the virus closer to the people, and dismissed the popular belief, that the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Irrua Edo State is the only diagnostic centre for Lassa fever in the country.
According to him, there are actually five others and they include Lagos State University Teaching Hospital(LUTH), University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) and Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital(AKTH).
He however said the government will establish additional centres in Niger, Bauchi, Taraba, Nasarawa, Plateau, Ondo, Ebonyi and the FCT to make it a total of 14 centres in the country.
The minister said it was also not acceptable for people to travel for so many hours in bad vehicles and bad roads from different parts of the country to Irrua in Edo State just to access treatment, saying people can now access treatment in many hospitals in the country.
The PSN statement praising the NCH new initiative said: “The President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai, on behalf of the PSN wish to commend the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari, Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac F. Adewole and his team at the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), Centre for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organisation (WHO) for the steps taken so far to combat and arrest the current Lassa Fever Epidemic in Nigeria.
It added: “The strategies put in place by the Minister since the outbreak till now gives clear evidence of the Federal Government’s commitment to urgently control the outbreak. Indeed, it is safe to say that he has set the stage for the Lassa Fever total War.”
The PSN boss who is also former Commissioner for Commerce, specifically hailed the efforts of the Minister in summoning an emergency National Council on Health (NCH) meeting on Tuesday and the choice of the theme of the gathering which was: “Institutionalising Sustainable Mechanism for Control of Lassa Fever and Other Related Diseases.”
Yakasai insisted that the deliberations of the meeting and communique reached after it strongly shows the commitment to ‘Change’ as regards the government’s response to Lassa Fever outbreak in the country.
The statement said: “The emergency National Council on Health (NCH) with theme: “Institutionalising Sustainable Mechanism for Control of Lassa Fever and Other Related Diseases” called by the Federal Ministry of Health on January 19 gives impetus to the commitment of change as regards Nigeria’s response to Lassa Fever outbreak in the country.”
Other aspects of the agreements reached at the emergency meeting which the PSN said are noteworthy and commendable are the inauguration of Lassa Fever Eradication (LFE) committee; Minister’s commitment for provision of adequate funds for procurement of drugs for treating patients of Lassa Fever; integrated approach to mobilise stakeholders such as religious, traditional leaders and the media.
The statement read: “PSN is particularly impressed with the positive outcomes from the Emergency NCH which included: increase in number of Diagnostic Centres from six to 14; inauguration of Lassa Fever Eradication Committee; Minister’s commitment for provision of adequate funds for procurement of drugs for treating patients of Lassa Fever; integrated approach to mobilise stakeholders such as religious, traditional leaders and the media, among others.”
PSN therefore urged its pharmacists and other members of the healthcare team to support the Minister in the quest to win the current war against the Lassa Fever outbreak in the country.
The body of pharmacists further extended its call to the State governors particularly, those ones whose States are on danger list to seriously collaborate with the government’s effort by embarking on public enlightenment in local languages, strengthening their surveillance systems and activating the response mechanisms.
The statement read: “It is on this premise that PSN calls on all Pharmacists and other members of the Healthcare team to join hands and support the Honourable Minister in the quest to win the current war against the Lassa Fever outbreak in Nigeria.
“This is in tandem with our slogan – “As Men of Honour We Join Hands”. The PSN also extends its call to the State Governors particularly those States on red alert to effectively cooperate with the Federal Government’s effort by starting public enlightenment in local languages, strengthening their surveillance systems and activating the response mechanisms.”
This story was published in Newswatch Times on January 23, 2016.