Tears in Kogi as doctor dies of lassa fever

Kogi State has been thrown into mourning following the death of a medical doctor Idowu Ahmed Victor diagnosed of Lassa Fever in Irua, Edo State.

Late Victor who contacted the disease on January 19 passed on at about 6pm on Sunday.

Until his death, Dr Victor was a House Officer at the Federal Medical Centre Lokoja were he contacted the disease from a 7-month-old baby who died on Friday 19th January.

Confirming the incident on Sunday night, the Kogi State Chairman of the Nigeria Medical Association, Dr Godwin Tijani described the deceased as a man who was committed to his job.

Dr Tijani while announcing the obituary of the late Medical Doctor wrote “the NMA Kogi State is sorry to announced the death of Dr Idowu Ahmed Victor who was a House officer at FMC Lokoja. He was infected with the Lassa Virus as confirmed at Irrua Specialist Hospital. May his soul rest in perfect peace. Amen”.

Meanwhile, the NMA Kogi has advised healthcare practitioners in the state to always observe safety precautions whenever attending to patients.

Tijani also advised the general public to store food items, especially grains, garri and powdered food in air-tight containers.

“The general public should endeavour to quickly report any case of high grade fever not responding to antimalarial treatment to the nearest hospital, so that quick diagnosis and treatment can be instituted.

“Early presentation has a good prognosis,” he said.

The medical doctor, who described Lassa fever as a zoonotic disease, spread by rats, stressed that personal hygiene or any measure taken to get rid of rats would help in containing the disease.

“Its symptoms include high grade fever, joints and general body pains, malaise, bleeding from body orifices and renal failure”, he said.

However, the NMA chairman appealed to relevant governments and stakeholders to be serious with the welfare of health personnel.

According to him, health personnel risked their lives under a very poor remuneration.

“Can you imagine that the hazard allowance for a doctor is just N5,000, while those who are not exposed to any risk are being paid allowances running into millions of naira.

“For instance, doctors working with the Kogi government are on strike over poor welfare.

“I am, therefore, appealing to the government to address the grievances to ensure that doctors quickly get back to work as there is an imminent emergency befalling the state.

“Government should pay the remaining balance of salary, correct the underpayment, and give a timeline for the implementation of the revised CONMESS, promotion and annual step increment.

“The government should also act fast to avoid mass exodus of doctors from the state, because we have fewer doctors and we cannot afford to lose them to other states with higher bids.

“Some of the Northern states have advertised for doctors’ recruitment and over 100 doctors under Kogi government employment have indicated interest to go for the interview.

“This is a bad development for the health sector. I am appealing to the state government to do the needful to avoid the impending calamity,” said Tijani.