By Kalu Idika – Lafia
It was a moment of grief for management staff and health workers at Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital, Lafia in Nasarawa State as they lost another medical doctor to the cold hand of Lassa fever.
Doctor Esa Oga Ochapa, a consultant in obstetrics and gynecology department died on Tuesday 14 March, 2021 barely few days after the hospital community lost Doctor Victor Nwatu of the same department while attempting to save the life of a pregnant mother.
According to the Chief medical Director of the hospital, Dr. Hassan Ikrama, the two medical experts came down with Lassa fever after they operated on a patient (pregnant woman) who had problem of bleeding.
“She had surgery and a second surgery, the problem was bleeding. I know one of the manifestations of Lassa fever is bleeding. It is not uncommon for a woman that deliver not to bleed but it was mass bleeding, that was why we have to take her for surgery to save her life. It was in the course of the surgery that they got infected,” IKrama said.
He added that the pregnant mother and the child died as a result of the Lassa fever despite efforts to save their lives.
The Chief Medical Director who described Nasarawa state as an endemic place for Lassa fever explained that this particular outbreak came at a time when attention of all the health workers shifted to the Covid-19 pandemic particularly the new Omicron variant.
Dr. Ikrama also stated that every health worker has been trained on infection prevention and awareness creation on the Lassa fever has been heightened by the state ministry of health to curtail the infectious disease.
While assuring the families of the deceased plans of the hospital to immortalize the medical doctors, the CMD urged all health workers to be vigilant.
He said apart from the processing by all the health workers in the hospital to honor the two fallen heroes, only emergency cases will be attended to.
Also speaking, the state vice chairman of Nigeria Medical Association, Dr. Cobson Meshi who described late Dr. Esa Oga as a hardworking and committed medical doctor said his passion for saving lives could be seen as gain since he paid his life in an attempt to save another life.
He called on all the health workers unions to collaborate strongly in their quest for better welfare as government does not give priority to issues of life assurance and hazard allowances for health workers.
The state chairman of Medical and Dental Consultant Association of Nigeria, Dr. Patrick Agbo expressed shock over the sacrifices made by the two doctors and called on the state government to do everything possible to ensure that a testing centre for Lassa fever is established in Lafia to reduce the tragic loss.
Another staff of the hospital who preferred her name not to be mentioned told Grey Spot News that the husband of the pregnant woman just dropped the woman and abandoned her in the hospital.
According to her, the two doctors performed surgery on the woman who came bleeding unknowingly to them that she came with Lassa fever.
Doctor Oga is well known for putting smiles on families who are battling with fertility challenges. His passion for the medical profession and service to humanity are legacies that many of the deceased colleagues, friends and patients said will remain indelible in their minds.