The Enugu State Government has commenced massive sensitisation step-down on Lassa fever in the 17 local government areas (LGAs) of the state.
The state has so far recorded four cases of the disease with two deaths.
Dr George Ugwu, the Executive Secretary of Enugu State Primary Healthcare Centres Development Agency (ENS-PHCDA), made the disclosure in Enugu on Saturday.
Ugwu said that the sensitisation step-down was going on simultaneously in each of the LGAs for all the Primary Health Care workers.
He said that the initiative became necessary, following a meeting between the agency and the staff of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
He said: “The agency met with officials of NCDC recently and a resolution was reached between us.
“One of the most critical resolutions was for ENS-PHCDA to step-down Lassa fever sensitisation and awareness to the rural areas, where the bulk of the population of the state reside.
“The agency has earlier organised a PHC stakeholders workshop on Lassa fever for PHC officials from the 17 council areas, comprising PHC Coordinators, Disease Surveillance Officers and Disease Information Educators.’’
According to Ugwu, Lassa fever is a disease burden mostly prevalent in rural areas and with that in mind, PHC workers always serve as the first contact with any suspected patient.
“It is important that PHC workers are well enlightened on the disease symptoms, case definition and prevention.
“It is also necessary that they observe universal hygiene and safety precautions while caring for any suspected case,’’ he said.
He also said that as part of the agency’s commitment to further deepen the sensitisation at the rural areas, Disease Information Educators and other PHC workers would be visiting communities and public gatherings to talk to the people about the disease.
“They will use the opportunity provided by schools’ assemblies, community meetings, market days and church services to talk to the people and share materials on Lassa fever prevention and the need to shun negative habits that may cause the disease,’’ he said.
The ENS-PHCDA boss urged rural dwellers to stop the consumption of rat, touching rats and observe regular hand washing while ensuring that their environment remained clean.
He advised the people to report any suspected case to the nearest PHC for medical attention and proper referrals to better facilities that had the capacity to handle the disease.