Three Lassa fever patients which include two pregnant women and corps member serving in Asaba, Delta State are presently battling for their lives at Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Esan Central local government area of Edo State.
The two expectant women who were brought in from Ondo and Ogun States have, however, delivered their babies safely at the hospital, a centre for diagnosing and treatment of the dreaded disease.
The Medical Director of the hospital, Prof. Sylvanus Okogbenin who disclosed this yesterday remarked that so far 61 patients are currently on admission for the disease at the hospital while three persons have died and 27 treated and discharged since January this year when the latest outbreak occurred.
Okogbenin said the two women and a youth corps member who received two dialyses and is recovering, contrary to the rumour making the round that the three patients died.
The medical director said that a medical doctor from far away Jalingo, Taraba state who was also admitted for Lassa fever and presumed dead is responding to treatment.
He said: “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 leading to an increase in the number of patients we see.”
The medical director said that apart from Edo state, the hospital also admits patients from Kogi, Delta, Jigawa and Ogun states.
Okogbenin vehemently denied: “No youth corps member died here. The youth corp member that was brought here is still alive. He is recovering and has done two dialysis session. The two pregnant women from Ogun and Ondo States 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 can come here for treatment. We have not lost anybody in the past two weeks.”
As for Edo State, he stated that cases of the disease have been recorded in Esan North East, Estako West and Esan West local government area.
Okogbenin commended the state government for been very supportive, noting that the hospital has received over 500 protective equipment from the state government while the National Centre for Disease Control supplied consumables used for treatment.
He said: “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.”
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.