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Experts berate govt over Lassa fever outbreak


Vice-Chancellor of University of Benin, Prof. Faraday Orumwense, has constituted a committee to sensitize the university community on ways to prevent the spread of Lassa Fever disease with its ‎collaboration with government and non-governmental organizations towards eradicating the monstrous disease just as other stakeholders call on government to be proactive in disease control management to achieve realistic results.

Speaking at a workshop organized by the management of the University of Benin, recently, Orumwense said the essence of the committee is to assist the government and members of the public on ways to curtail the incidences of Lassa fever on campuses and the community.

Guest lecturer and resources person at the distinguished University of Benin lecture entitled: “Combating Lassa Fever: A National Health Challenge”, held at the university campus, Agbonlahor, said the budgetary allocations for the treatment of Lassa fever by the Federal government in the past 47 years was a waste of public funds.

Agbonlahor, a former Vice-chancellor of the Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma, Edo State and a Professor of Microbiology noted with regret that Nigeria, in the past 47 years, made much noise in the name of creating awareness during outbreaks without any concise effort on addressing the issues adequately before another outbreak occurred.

“For the past 44 years, Lassa fever has remained an annual budget of death for the poor people of Nigeria because we have lived in a state of denial of the disease and handled it with a characteristic laxity, laissez-faire, negligence, sloppiness, slackness, disregard and triviality.”

Agbonlahor stressed that inconsistency on the part of government and failed government policies occasioned by lack of political will by past governments robbed the nation the possibility of attaining the threshold of discovering the Lassa fever vaccine, adding that while Illiteracy, harmful traditional, cultural, customs and religious beliefs have been largely attributable to under reporting of Lassa fever cases.