Liberia: Grand Bassa County Launches Lassa Fever Clean-up Campaign
Buchanan – Grand Bassa County Health team in collaboration with the County authority has launched a cleaning up awareness under the theme “Community hygiene to discourage rodents from entering homes”. The awareness seeks to prevent the spread of Lassa fever in communities.
The awareness was launched on January 31 in Gaye Peter’s Town, one of the communities affected by Lassa fever in Electoral District #4.
Gabriel B. Kassay, the county’s disease Surveillance Officer, said “Since the beginning of this year we have suspected over 71 persons being effected with Lassa fever, 25 persons have been confirmed with Lassa fever and 4 deaths”.
He said that there have been several meetings with communities on how the disease can be prevented, adding that the communities have agreed that people should regularly clean their environment and stop eating rats.
“Rats are the main carrier of the disease and we have talked to people to stop eating rats but we can still see people eating rats,” Kessay said.
“Recently, a lady died from Lassa fever and the health team decided to do the burial but the citizens put out serious tension demanding the body, the District Health Officer had to call the County Superintendent and the district lawmaker before the tension went down for us to do the burial.”
Janjay Baikpeh, Superintendent Grand Bassa County, said he joined the cleaning up campaign because he wants people to be saved from the disease.
“You can catch this sickness from eating food or drinking water or getting in touch with household items contaminated by pupu or pee pee [urine and feces] of an infected person,” Baikpeh said.
“Lassa Fever is a very serious sickness because it can spread quickly and lead to suffering and death of many people”.
The Superintendent encouraged the citizens to abide by the preventive measures in order to help save their lives, adding that washing hands with soap and water and reporting to the nearest health facility for help are ways of preventing the sickness.
Edwin Weljay, Wayzohn City Mayor in District #4, added that “it’s time for every citizen to work with the Health team to ensure that Lassa fever is kicked out of the district”.
“I felt very bad when I heard that Gaye Peter Town, a community within our new city, was one of the effected communities,” Weljay said.
“As of today’s date I will be on my feet as mayor of this city to ensure that every community is totally clean.”
Nanu Peters, a resident of Gaye Peter Town, called on health workers caring for patients with suspected or confirmed Lassa fever to apply extra infection control measures to prevent contact with the patient.
“I want to advise the health workers to be careful while treating infected patients because they are the same people that will treat people who are not infected by the virus,” she said.
“I want to also let the healthcare workers know that whenever they take suspected Lassa fever patients from the community, a communication or a health worker should be the one to return with that patient if they are not infected “.
She said several people were suspected of Lassa fever but they returned to the community without any documents to show that they were negative.
Responding, the Grand Bassa Health team has promised to take into the consideration the recommendations of Madam Peters; at the same time, the health team donated several wheel barrows, shovels and other items to help residents keep their community clean.