As part of measures to strengthen the preparedness and response capacity to combat possible outbreak and spread of the deadly Coronavirus and Lassa fever, the Lagos State government through the State Emergency Management Agency LASEMA, has constituted a 5-man committee on Epidemic Preparedness Response Plan, EPRP, across the 57 councils of the state.
Similarly, the state government in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, the National Center for Disease Control, NCDC, and African Field Epidemiology Network, AFENET, over the weekend began a surveillance tour of livestock and bush meat markets across the state to test animals for components of monkey-pox.
Director-General of LASEMA, Dr. Olufemi Oke-Osanyitolu, who disclosed this following rumours of coronavirus in the state, which the state government had repeatedly, debunked, insisting, “no case recorded in the state so far.”
“LASEMA has constituted a 5-man committee on Epidemic Preparedness Response Pla, EPRP.
“LASEMA is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by Coronavirus first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and which continues to expand.
“This committee is to engage and ensure strong collaboration of the agency with all stakeholders to implement the EPRP.
“The agency will work with the Health Care Board to have a two-day workshop/training for the LASEMA emergency response team (LRT) which includes EMS and Regular Search and Rescue/Recovery team) health care workers on Coronavirus and Lassa fever.
“The agency will also be training the Local Emergency Management Committee in all 20 LGAs and 37 LCDAs on building local resilience and response to epidemic emergency.”
He said plans were on to enlighten the public through the media and road shows in all the 57 councils ensuring information about the epidemics gets to the grass root.
“The agency will make resources available for the state Ministry of Health for emergency and rescue operations. Heavy-duty equipment and an ambulance from the agency will also be dedicated for transfer of infected persons/patients.
“The agency is also working on procuring Personal Protective Equipment PPE for Responders.
“Synchronization of our emergency call centers, 767/112, and transfers of command to the newly established Emergency Operation Centre, EOC, Call Center for immediate action.
“For the general Lagosian public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus, the immediate health risk from 2019-nCoV and Lassa Fever is considered low at this time. Lagos being a pacesetter must be proactive considering the mega-city capacity of the state which could be characterized by the influx of people migrating into the state.”
Oke-Osanyintiolu explained that the goal of the ongoing LASEMA preparedness and response plan was to collaborate with Ministry of Health to combat the epidemics on the global and local front.
He stressed that the agency had been in the full gear of preparedness to collaborate with the Primary Health Care Board to support the health care facilities, to strengthen the preparedness in combating the challenges of public health emergencies and health securities through the training of all emergency response and health workers in all the 20 LGAs and 37 LCDAs.
On Monkey box prevention, the state Commissioner for Agriculture, Prince Gbolahan Lawal, speaking when he received the One Health Team of the National Center for Disease Control, explained that the monkey pox disease is a transboundary viral disease that is common among people that have had contact with wild animals and which typically presents clinically with fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes.
“Small pox is also a viral zoonotic disease caused by the monkey pox virus and it occurs primarily in tropical rainforest areas of Central and West Africa and it is mostly transmitted to people from wild animals such as rodents and primates, although human to human transmission also occurs, usually by contact with an infected person’s body fluid, lesions, respiratory droplets as well as contaminated materials such as beddings.”
Lawal reiterated the commitment of the state government to ensuring the safety of lives of residents hence, it would do all that needed to be done to prevent the emergence of the disease in the state.
Lawal added that relevant organ and tissue samples would be collected from those animals under strict bio-safety standard protocols which would then be appropriately stored at the required temperature before being transported to the laboratory for diagnostic testing.
He urged the people not to panic but however, called for precautionary measures such as maintaining a high level of hygiene and reporting of any suspected cases of monkey pox to the appropriate authorities.
ASUU says it has been warning governments to cater to the needs of the vulnerable in the society which appears to have fallen to deaf ears.
Omole reiterated the fact that due to years of neglect and unbridled corruption in high places, many Nigerians have come to lose interest in standards of ethical living since those leading them are mortgagers of future.