Lassa Fever: Ondo Health Workers Panic Over Loss Of Colleague
Fear, confusion and lamentation have clouded the atmosphere at the medical village in Ondo State.
This is coming on the heels of the indifference of the hospital management to the plight of the workers.
The health workers are currently not certain of their health status and appeared to see death staring at them in the face.
The hospital had just lost one of its health officers in the Laboratory section of Kidney Care Centre, Rasheedat Mohammed recently, after being diagnosed of Lassa fever.
Hence, the workers are crying to the state government to prevail on the hospital management to conduct a Lassa fever test for each of the staff.
A health worker at the medical village who pleaded anonymity said they drew the attention of the Chief Medical Director to the case but he decided to turn a deaf ear to them.
"If our management had taken a proactive measure, Rasheedat would not have died just like that. Right now, we don't know how many of us have contacted the virus through her."
Another officer said: "I must confess to you, our lives are in danger in this hospital. Presently, everybody is panicking because we don't know how wide it has been transmitted within the hospital. If truly Lassa fever can be contacted through physical contacts, am sure not less than 70% of us must have been infected by now because Rasheedat was a friendly person who mixed freely with everybody regardless of your status."
Another worker who also spoke on the condition of anonymity confirmed they are living in fear.
“We don’t know what to do, one of us has been killed by Lassa Fever.
“We expected the hospital to have taken our blood samples to Irrua Specialists Hospital to check whether any one of us had been infected. But they have not done anything about it. It’s obvious they are playing politics with our lives."
The hospital Chief Medical Director, Dr. Akinwumi Akinbodewa however declined comment on the incident, saying it is professionally unethical to make a comment right now.
When contacted, the Ondo State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Wahab Adegbenro confirmed the death of the medical worker at the hospital but said she died from complication of liver problem and not Lassa Fever.
“It is not correct; we have not got any new case in Ondo State. It is true that somebody, who was a member of staff of the hospital, died of liver problem that led to some complication.
"Though her blood sample has been taken to Lagos, but clinical evidence does not support Lassa Fever. We are expecting the result before the week runs out.”
It was alleged that the late laboratory attendant was infected with the disease in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, where she went to visit a relative who had earlier been infected.
The infected relative was said to have also died.
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