The Lagos State Government has begun the training of 342 medical personnel as first level emergency responders for communicable diseases in the 20 local governments and 37 local council development areas of the state.
The Director General, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Dr. Femi Oke-Osanyintolu disclosed this while addressing newsmen in Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos, on Monday, a statement by LASEMA spokesperson, Nosa Okunbor, said.
The statement quoted Oke-Osanyintolu as saying that the training was a component of collaborative efforts with the Ministry of Health to contain the spread and possibility of entry into Nigeria of communicable diseases such as Corona, Lassa fever and others.
The LASEMA boss also appealed to residents of Lagos to desist from spreading fake news about the Corona Virus while underlining the seriousness of the situation.
He said following a directive issued by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said his team had immediately begun a monitoring visit to all local governments to ascertain the level of preparedness of all the hospitals and other healthcare facilities in the state.
Oke-Osanyintolu described Coronavirus as a large family of viruses that were common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats and bats.
“Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people such as with MERS, SARS and now with Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic illness caused by Lassa virus, a member of the arena virus family of viruses.
“Humans usually become infected with Lassa virus through exposure to food or household items contaminated with urine or faeces of infected Mastomys rats. According to World Health Organisation, Lassa fever outbreak is a yearly occurrence during the dry season in Nigeria, but this year’s outbreak is more widespread with 10 states, 140 suspected and 30 confirmed cases.
“Also on Jan. 24, it was confirmed that 11 States in Nigeria have recorded cases of Lassa fever including a neighboring Ogun State. These epidemics which have posed global and local emergency health threat has fueled the preparedness plan of LASEMA,” Oke-Osanyintolu said.
He said that the disease was a threat to public health, adding that the fact that this virus has caused severe illness and sustained person-to-person spread in China and outside China and the Lassa fever currently in 11 States was alarming.
The LASEMA boss explained that the risk to individuals was dependent on exposure and that some people would had an increased risk of infection, for example healthcare workers caring for 2019-nCoV and Lassa fever patients and other close contacts of infected patients.
Oke-Osanyintolu said that Lagos, being a pacesetter must be proactive considering the mega city capacity of the state which could be characterised by the influx of people migrating into the state.