Picture courtesy Reuters

Agency Report

Reports say the Lagos State Vector Control Programme is going after rats in 465 markets in the state, as it plans to employ more graduates of the College of Health Technology  (LASCOHET), Yaba, to eliminate Lassa Fever virus.

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Mr Oluwasegun Benson, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Phosgard Fumigants Nigeria Ltd., and the programme’s coordinator, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday.

The state government established the programme to eliminate Lassa Fever virus transmitted to humans by killing rats especially in markets and public places in what is called ‘deratting’.

The coordinator spoke shortly after inspecting markets in Ijeh Barracks and Obalande in Eti-Osa Local Government and seven others in Ijora, Apapa Local Government.

Benson said that Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State had given his approval for automatic employment of 233 graduates of the college from 2012/2013 academic session with effect from July 2, 2016.

He said the team’s planned employment of more graduates of LASCOHET would further enhance curbing the spread of Lassa fever in the state by ridding it of rats.

LASCOHET, formerly known as the School of Hygiene, was established by Dr Oladipo Oluwole, the first Nigerian Medical Officer of Health, in 1920.

Benson explained that under the programme, his members would cover over 465 markets, beginning from next month.

“The deratisation of the markets will be done every month. We will visit all the markets in each local government in the state once a month.

“Some markets are big while some are small, the biggest market in Eti-Osa Local Government is Obalende and it won’t take us more than 45 minutes to finish.’’

Benson also said that his team had taken possession of the equipment to be used for the exercise.

He said that they would do the exercise at night when they would have less distraction from the public and when the traffic would be light.

Benson said that before then, his team’s advocacy group would have sensitised the public on the need to cover their foodstuffs.

“Our team will visit the markets at nights, and we hope we will be able to cover no less than 10 markets and as the project goes on, we will purchase more equipment and employ more people.

“We will also station some of our equipment within bigger markets for our team to carry out the exercise,’’ he said.

Benson said that the project would afford the members of the public that killed rats to earn more money because the team would be buying such dead rats from them.

This is part of the team’s plan to keep their environment free of vector-borne diseases, he said.

The slogan for the vector control programme is “Kill rats, make More Money in Lagos’’.