FG Sets Aside N1.6b For Health Sector Intervention In 4 North East States – Adewole

The Federal Government on Monday said it had set aside N1.6 billion for health sector intervention in four North East states of Adamawa, Borno, Yobe and Gombe, affected by the Boko Haram insurgncy.



The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, made this known at a news conference in Maiduguri. Adewole, who explained that the money would be used to provide new healthcare facilities and upgrade existing ones in the four states, added that more than 200,000 malnourished children would also be treated in the states as part of the intervention.




The minister said that “in the next three months, we shall treat 200,000 malnourished children affected by the insurgency in the North East. The essence is to restore the children’s hope of growing as responsible adults.’’



He noted that the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) would also benefit from the intervention. “We will upgrade the UMTH by making its facilities first class in all ramifications.The idea is to ensure that all hospitals have world class equipment in such a way that only very rich Nigerians who have money to throw will have cause to go on medical tourism.’’




The minister added that the Federal Government would also establish a trauma centre at the UMTH as part of the intervention.




The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the minister had earlier visited Gov. Kashim Shettima of Borno, where he commiserated with the state over the Boko Haram insurgency.



He said that the visit was aimed at assessing the medical needs of the states affected by the insurgency with a view to unfolding a special intervention package for them. Gov. Shettima thanked the minister for the visit and expressed willingness to partner with the Federal Government toward providing affordable healthcare to the people.





We’ll Eradicate Lassa Fever By April – Health Minister

The Federal Government has declared that by April this year, Lassa fever will “become history.”



The government, which expressed optimism that the disease would be eradicated in April, also confirmed that it had placed the family that was visited by a victim in the Kubwa community of Abuja and an official of the Kubwa hospital, where he was treated, under surveillance.



The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said this in an interview with The PUNCH in Abuja, on Wednesday.

According to him, no patient would be allowed to visit the hospital where the victim had been admitted before he was taken to the National Hospital, Abuja, because efforts were afoot to sanitise the hospital.



The victim, a newly-wed 33-year-old man, lived in Jos, Plateau State, but came to see a family member in Kubwa because of his illness.



He, however, died within 24 hours of being admitted into the National Hospital from the Kubwa-based hospital.



The minister said, “We want to assure Nigerians that Lassa fever will soon become a thing of the past. It will become history in Nigeria. Ordinarily, Lassa fever will be eradicated from Nigeria in April. But if we do nothing, it will come back by August. So, we will make sure that we work all-year round to make sure that there is no resurgence in August.


“Our target is to eradicate it in April. Even if we have one or two cases, we will treat them early because all our antennae will be out to treat any case,” he stated.



Adewole added, “Not just the families that the patient visited in Kubwa but also those who treated him (have been placed under surveillance). We are working on that, we don’t want to frighten anybody. But I can assure you that our officials are all over the place to make sure that we place them under surveillance. It is all in their interest, not that we want to frighten them.”



Asked if there were plans to shut down the whole of the hospital, the minister said, “When you say shut down, we don’t want to physically shut down the place. But when the hospital is under surveillance, no patient will be allowed to go there until we declare the place safe and that is the situation in the Kubwa hospital.”



The minister added that the ward in the National Hospital where the patient was admitted and the mortuary where he was kept had also been decontaminated.



Meanwhile, the authorities of the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital Complex, Ile-Ife, said on Wednesday that a laboratory test had confirmed that a resident doctor of the hospital had died of Lassa fever.



The chairman of a committee set up by the OAUTHC on Lassa fever, Prof. Adedeji Onayade, said this while speaking to one of our correspondents on the telephone.



He said the result of the first test carried out on the deceased tested positive.



Onayade said, “We have a report which was positive. We were supposed to do two tests but the patient was dying when we took the first sample. We can’t do the second test now. So, we can say it is 50 per cent but we are going ahead to take necessary steps. We have informed all those who should know.



“There is no need to panic, Lassa fever is treatable and we are set to ensure that the situation is contained effectively.”



He said the hospital was on top of the situation, stressing that there was no need for anybody to panic.