Osagie Otabor, Benin

Management of the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital has dispelled rumours that a youth corp member serving in Asaba and two pregnant women admitted for Lassa Fever lost their lives.

It said the pregnant women were brought in from Ondo and Ogun States and that they both delivered their babies safely.

The hospital is a centre for diagnosing and treatment of Lassa fever.

Medical Director of the hospital, Prof Sylvanus Okogbenin, who spoke in a chat with journalists said the youth corper has received two dialyses and is recovering.

Prof. Okogbenin said a Medical Doctor from Jalingo that was also admitted for Lassa fever and presumed dead is responding to treatment.

Okogbenin stated that 61 patients were currently admitted for Lassa fever and three deaths recorded since January when the outbreak occurred.

He said 27 were treated and discharged.

His words, “The number of patients we are seeing are on the increase but the deaths have reduced significantly. This is because we are better prepared. We know the season so we get our supplies ready.

“Because of greater awareness, people will now come. There are diagnoses in more centres than before and it is a mixture of increase in awareness lead to increase in the number of patients we see.

“All our patients are not from Edo. Some are fro Kogi, Jigawa, Ogun.

We have Edo cases in Esan North East, Estako West and Esan West. Those areas are where we have surveillance and try to educate the people.

“The State Government has been supportive. We received over 500 protective equipment from the state government. The National Centre for Disease Control supplied consumables used for treatment.

“Lassa Fever treatment is not declared free. A bed is N1000 daily. The drug is free. If patients cannot pay, they are treated and asked to go. No patient is sent away because of payment.

“No youth corper died here. The youth corper that was brought here is still alive. He is recovering and has done two dialysis session. The two pregnant women from Ogun and Owo also delivered safely. Their babies are fine and okay. The Medical Doctor from Jalingo did not die. He is doing well. We expect him to make a full recovery soon.

“We need people to understand that when they have Lassa they çan come for treatment. We have not lost anybody in the past two weeks.”

Meanwhile, the Edo State Government has deployed more medical personnel to border communities to sensitise people on preventive measures.

It also approved the deployment of three ambulances to help quick response in conveying patients to Lassa fever centres as well as planned to buy two additional dialysis machine to complement the one at Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital.

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