Lassa fever: Plateau government cautions school cooks, head teachers
The Plateau Government has warned Head Teachers and Cooks in the 1990 schools benefiting from the Schools Feeding Programme in the state to be conscious of Lassa fever outbreak in the country.
Dr Sumaye Hamza, the Executive Assistant to Gov. Simon Lalong and focal person, Social Investment Programme (SIP), gave the warning during a one- day sensitisation workshop for schools feeding Cook, Headteachers and Desks Officers in Jos on Monday.
Hamza said the event was held to update the stakeholders on the need for precautionary measures given the challenge posed by Lassa fever across the country in recent weeks.
“The school feeding Programme initiated by President Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration is meant to improve the health conditions of the pupils and students and not to cause any harm, this is very apt due to the unfortunate outbreak of Lassa fever in some parts of the state.
“As custodians of these pupils and students, you must ensure a high level of hygiene in food storage, cooking, and distribution for the safety and health of the children,” she said.
She said the government would not be happy to record the outbreak of diseases, especially the deadly Lassa fever.
Dr Francis Dabe, an Epidemiologist with the State Ministry of Health, stressed the need for people to be more careful to avoid the consumption of foods that rodents had touched.
Dabe told the cooks and headteachers that if adequate precaution was taking, the problem of Lassa fever would be a thing of the past.
“You should not expose food or serve the children leftover foods to avoid any outbreak of disease particularly Lassa fever and diarrhea.
“It is bad for you to give the children what you know they cannot eat in their homes, just because you are targeting to make money,” he said.
Dabe described Lassa fever as `a deadly disease’ and advised the participants to be vigilant to look out for the symptoms, which include: fever, bleeding, muscles pains body weakness, pains, etc. for prompt medical action.
He urged the participants to adopt preventative measures such as waste disposals, proper covering of food items, avoid spreading of garri, grains and other produce in the open to avoid contamination by rats.
He said there was the need for people to avoid contact with infected persons, saying “you should ensure regular washing of hands and quick reportage of victims to either whenever you notice Lassa fever signs on any person”.
Mr Ezekiel Vondip, chairman, Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Plateau Chapter, in a goodwill message, said that children were very sensitive and fragile and needed to be handled with utmost caution.