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Lassa fever kills nurse in Edo, govt worries over high HIV/AIDS rate

CMD of University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Prof. Obaseki with the minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole

An outbreak of Lassa Fever has claimed the life of one Henry Ehimati, a male nurse working with Okomu Oil Palm Company staff clinic.

The victim, said to be in his 30s and married with one child, lived with his family in Benin City, whenever he is off duty at the clinic.

A source informed our correspondent that the doctor in charge of the disease control at the clinic observed that the late nurse was unusually weak and with high fever last week.

“By the time they admitted him at the clinic and run test on him, they detected that he had ‘2 plus’ malaria, with protein in his blood. As the fever got worse by the day, they then decided to transfer him to a private clinic in Benin City, last Saturday, where they also carried out several tests on him.

“When they suspected that he might be suffering from Lassa Fever, they then decided to transfer him to the Lassa Fever center at Irrua Teaching Hospital. But he died at the clinic even before they could finalize arrangements to take him there,” the source said.

The State Commissioner for Health, David Osifo, could not be reached for confirmation. The Managing Director of Okomu Oil Palm Company Plc, Mr. Graham Heife also failed to respond to text a message sent to his mobile phone.

Meanwhile, the Edo State Government has expressed worry over the high HIV/AIDS prevalence rate of 4.1 percent of the state’s population, against the 3.4 percent of the national rate.

The Executive Director of the State Agency for the Control of AIDS (SACA), Mrs. Florence Oyakhilome-Edemode, said: “As at 2012, when we came on board, the prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS in Edo State was 5.3 percent, but with the implementation of intervention programmes put in place by the state government, such as empowerment of about 20 organizations with grants, by 2014 survey, the prevalence rate has dropped significantly to 4.1 percent of the state’s population.

“That is still worrisome because it is still higher than the national prevalence rate of over 3 percent. That is why we are worried. But all hands are on deck to ensure that we get to zero percent.”

Oyakhilome-Edemode said plans have been concluded to embark on aggressive sensitization enlightenment in rural communities across the three senatorial districts of the State, on safe sexual relationship among the youth.

Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, had in August, 2017, during a visit to the State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, disclosed that a total of 173,600 persons were living with the HIV/AIDs virus in the state.

Adewole who made reference to the 2016 statics, also disclosed that only 25,730 persons living with the virus were on anti-retroviral treatment.