The Environmental Health Officers Association of Nigeria (EHOAN), Lagos State branch, yesterday said plans were underway to rid markets in the state of rodents, to forestall the spread of Lassa fever. The disease, which has affected 10 states and the FCT, Abuja, has so far claimed 43 lives.
EHOAN’s Chairman, Mr Samuel Akingbehin, told newsmen in Lagos that the exercise which will be based on one local government or council development area markets per day, would start on Jan. 16. According to the official, Lassa fever has the Mastomy rats as vectors. He said the association was collaborating with security agencies, executive members of the various markets and health officers in the state to ensure effectiveness of the exercise. “The Lagos State professional health bodies have decided to tackle this Lassa fever because of its serious nature. As such, we have decided to take the fight to the markets, hospitals, schools and homes in the state. We know by inspection and evaluation that we have the rodents responsible for the disease in markets, schools, hospitals and homes. This is a serious problem and the professional bodies have decided to target all these places,” the official said. He said the association has scheduled and organised members to de-rat one market per local government per day.
Akingbehin urged traders at the markets to be visited by members of the association to cooperate with the officers. According to him, the exercise will begin from 5 p.m. daily at the various markets. “We will go into the market in the evenings, de-rat the place and return in the early morning to pick up the dead rats for proper disposal. Letters have been given out to all market leaders to give us access to the markets,” he said. He said structures encouraging the breeding of rats such as shanties, illegal structures, accumulated and misused articles would be removed.
“The exercise will start with prominent markets such as Mile 12 Market in Kosofe LGA; Karo Market in Oshodi; Oke-Odo Market in Agbado Oke-Odo; Ikotun Market in Alimosho LGA. Others are Suru, Obanju and Ajeromi Markets; Agege Market, Agege LGA; Awolowo Market in Mushin; Okoko Market in Ojo LGA; Vespa Market in Oto- Awori LCDA; Sangrouse and Sura Markets in Lagos Island LGA; Obada Market in Obalende. Also included are Ishaga Market in Ifako-Ijaye LGA; Oyingbo Market in Mainland LGA; and Ayetoro Market in Epe LGA and others,” the official said.