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Sensitization Fighting Lassa Fever Within The Okaikwei North Municipality

The Okaikwei North Municipal Assembly (ONMA) would be exploring the option of banning eating in its offices as a way of stopping the spread of Lassa Fever. According to the MCE, Honourable Boye Laryea, the policy would reverse the trend where rats, known to be the cause of Lassa Fever, feed on leftover foods from staff in the offices. He explained that the Assembly will firm the decision at its next Management meeting. “Maybe we can decide not to eat in the office…” Honourable Laryea said. The MCE dropped the hint at a health workshop organized by the Municipal Health Directorate in collaboration with the Human Resource Department of the Assembly headed by Ms Sefia Salifu on the Lassa Fever disease on Thursday. Mr. Laryea stated that there would be mass spraying of the major markets with the Municipality as a means of destroying the breeding places of rats. He tasked the staff of the Assembly to also do their part by maintaining sanitary conditions in their various homes and the office to augment efforts by the government in fighting the disease. Joyce Yeboah Boateng from the Municipal Health Directorate urged the staff to take note of the signs and symptoms of the disease, indicating that there’s no vaccine for the disease currently. She said a person is supposed to self-quarantine and move to an isolation center when symptoms of the disease develop, stressing that case fatality rate is 50 percent. Madam Yeboah Boateng disclosed that some 58 million people are at risk of the disease each year with an estimated 5000 deaths each year in West Africa. The Senior Health Professional noted that the disease caused by rats is present in the urine and faeces of infected rats and that 80 to 90 percent of humans are infected through foods or household items contaminated by rats urine and faeces. Madam Yeboah Boateng stated that washing hands regularly, keeping a cat, storing foods in containers with lids among others are some of the ways to prevent the disease. Sarah Apau from the Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) of the Achimota Hospital said there was the need for the staff to observe safety protocols in order to avert the further spread of the disease. She advocated the need for the staff to desist from eating from take away packs and eating fresh foods. Felix Akudugu, a Health Promoter in a lecture on Risk Communication said in the event of a disease there is the need to find a clear channel of communication. He said people must not be judgemental about people who reveal their status but must rather win their trust. Madam Salifu was optimistic the knowledge acquired will be beneficial to the staff and their relatives. Aside the MCE, present at the workshop was Heads of Departments, Staff among others. So far the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) says 14 cases have so far been confirmed in the country. Those affected include some doctors and other health workers exposed in their line of duty. The GMA in a statement issued Wednesday, said while it acknowledges measures being put in place to trace their contacts and contain the virus from spreading further, it is also “facilitating the provision of psychological support to the colleagues confirmed with the disease,” and counselled the public to take precautionary measures. Lassa Fever, which is a viral hemorrhagic fever, is endemic in Benin, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and other West African Countries. Lassa fever is transmitted to humans through contact with food or household items contaminated with rat and mouse excreta.

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