Following the sudden death of a medical doctor and two others of an ailment called Lassa fever at Benue State University Teaching Hospital, Makurdi, a registered Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Youth Against Disaster Initiative (YADI) observed that:
1. In the last five years, Lassa fever has become a deadly epidemic gradually spreads across Nigeria, resulting to unpleasant health and socio-economic implications.
2. Apart from individuals, several medical personnel are reportedly dead in various parts of the country as a result of contact from infected patients.
3. Inadequate community awareness and sensitization has accelerated the cases of Lassa virus in various parts of the country, especially the rural areas.
4. The outbreak of Lassa fever will intensify on the ground that little or no concern has been made so far by the state and local governments to help their people know more about the causes and preventions against the deadly virus.
The Group recommended as follows:
1. Adequate community awareness and sensitization on the preventions against Lassa virus remains a crucial proactive measure.
2. Farmers and others in communities should stop drying grains on the road shoulders along the highway to avoid contamination with the urine and faeces of rodents that feast on them.
3. Health workers in the affected communities should make constant use of safety gloves and protective vests while attending to their patients.
4. Henceforth, infected patients should be isolated from unprotected persons until the disease has ran its course
5. All levels of government must partner with health and disaster management stakeholders to setup community sensitization and proffer infallible preventive measures against Lassa virus.
6. Provision of adequate specialist healthcare centres in both urban and rural areas to assist in early detection and medications against the virus.
We commend the rapid intervention of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Federal Ministry of Health, Nigerian Medical Association, and other stakeholders; while encouraging them to strengthen their ongoing awareness against Lassa fever in rural communities to curtail further outbreak.

Abubakar Jimoh
National Coordinator, Youths Against Disasters Initiative (YADI)