Benue commissioner confirms 63 Lassa fever cases, 16 deaths

The Commissioner for Health and Human Resources in Benue, Dr Yanmar Ortese, Monday, said at least 63 Lassa fever cases have been confirmed in the state.

Speaking during the celebration of the 2024 World Health Day with the theme: ‘My Health, My Right’ in Makurdi, Dr Ortese also disclosed that 16 persons out of the number died and two were currently on admission but in stable condition.

He said for the first time, Benue is responding to the largest fever outbreak in the history of the state, lamenting that the state had experienced multiple disease outbreaks, including Lassa fever, measles and buruli ulcer.

He also said the response capabilities of the state were currently over-stretched particularly as the state lacked a functional public health molecular laboratory.

“Additionally, our fight against tuberculosis is ongoing with the state ranking sixth in the country and first in the North Central Zone for tuberculosis,” Ortese said.

Meanwhile, the State Coordinator, World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Mohammed Abdulkarim, has assured that the organisation would continue to ensure quality health for the people.

Abdulkarim further disclosed that due to the frantic efforts made by WHO in the health sector, more mothers and children were surviving than before.

“From 2000 to 2020, the life expectancy of African women increased from 54 to 67 years. The maternal mortality ratio decreased by 33 per cent from 788 to 531 maternal deaths per 100 000 lives.

“The number of children dying before the age of five was reduced by 50 per cent from 2000 to 2017,” Abdulkarim said.