HEALTHCARE WORKERS’ PERSPECTIVES ON FACILITY PREPAREDNESS FOR LASSA FEVER CONTROL IN PLATEAU STATE, NIGERIA: A QUALITATIVE STUDY
Ize Anuoluwapo Osagie*, John Samson Bimba and Catherine Sekyen Igoh
Introduction: Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic fever caused by the Lassa virus and an epidemic-prone disease. Plateau State has consistently recorded a significant number of new cases of Lassa fever. Healthcare facility preparedness is essential in expediting the effectiveness of healthcare workers in containing the spread of the disease. This study aimed to determine the perspectives of frontline healthcare workers of their facility’s preparedness in the control of Lassa fever epidemic in Plateau State. Methodology: Ten healthcare facilities were purposively selected in five affected Local Government Areas. Key Informant Interviews were carried out with frontline healthcare workers and head of units in those facilities. Thematic analysis for the responses of informants was used to analyse data after coding. Result: Frontline healthcare workers were aware that infection prevention and control was central to the containment of Lassa fever. Only facilities in Jos North LGA considered their facility prepared. The majority expressed concern for proper Personal Protective Equipment, isolation wards and medication for treatment and prophylaxis. Most of the respondents also reported a gap in capacity building for frontline staff and poor political will by Government. Conclusion: Healthcare facility preparedness for Lassa fever control in Plateau State is still at rudimentary stages despite recurrent outbreaks of Lassa fever. Hands-on training and retraining of all frontline workers, improved political will by Government and the provision and use of standard precautions in providing care to patients are recommended.
Keywords: Healthcare workers, Lassa fever, Perspectives Preparedness.
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