Arising from suspected cholera outbreak following flooding of most parts of the city, Lagos Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi has commissioned an Emergency Response Squad to tackle diseases outbreak.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Squad, Abayomi who in 2014 was instrumental to the formation of the Ebola Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) disclosed that some samples which were collected in the course of the recent diarrhea and vomiting outbreak and investigated in the laboratory “tested positive to a type of cholera”.
According to Abayomi, “We have been able to send some samples to our laboratories and some samples tested positive for a type of cholera but we are not sure whether cholera is responsible for the entire outbreak of diarrhea and vomiting but we are sending some other samples to other laboratories and we are going to do some in-depth analysis to see whether this is just a case of cholera or whether there are other pathogens or agents that are contributing to this outbreak”.
The commissioner noted, “the EOC is a command and control centre headquartered in the Ministry of Health that will coordinate and fine tune logistics and resources in response to the increase in numbers of diarrhea and vomiting recorded in the past weeks in five local government area of Lagos State”
The EOC he said, is made up of representatives from the Ministry of Health, Primary Health Care Board, Health Service Commission, Lagos Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), World Health Organization and Central Public Health Laboratory among others and will be meeting on a daily basis to collate results, review plans and interventions as well as suggest and coordinate the implementation of measures to effectively curtail the spread of the disease and manage future occurrences promptly and effectively.
Abayomi a Consultant Pathologist and bio-security expert described the centre as “made up of sub thematic areas of surveillance and laboratory; communication, health education and social mobilization; case management and infection control as well as logistics and data management”.
He added further that the ministry shall be interested in having a complete narratives of what happened during these past weeks, lessons learnt and how we going to move forward.
Professor Abayomi also assured that the state government has been proactive in its response and management of the excess cases of vomiting and diarrhea since the report was made and investigation commenced.
To date, suspected cases of gastroenteritis disease of about 120 have been recorded form five local government areas of the state including, Lagos Island, Ajeromi, Apapa, Mushin and Ikeja with no record of death.
The commissioner promised that specific measures are being put in place “so that in the future, when we have this climatic situation where there are excessive rains, we should be in better position to respond proactively and anticipate that we are going to have this kind of scenarios and be in a better position to respond very quickly even in a very more efficacious way to any water born or airborne outbreaks that may happen in our State”.
Government advised health workers to ensure that they take universal safety precautions when dealing with patients stressing that they must practice good hand washing techniques and report any alarming increase in cases gastroenteritis-vomiting and diarrhea to the Medical Officer of Health in their local government or the Directorate of Disease Control through these lines: 08023169485 and 08023608195