Experts Seek Effective Synergy To Tackle Lassa Fever
Health experts in Nigeria and other parts of the world met in Abuja on Wednesday to discuss how Lassa fever outbreaks can be tackled in West Africa.
Borne out of human contact with food or items contaminated by rodent waste products, they noted that the disease saddles Nigeria with its heaviest burden internationally.
The Director-General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, told the gathering that the progress recorded in the fight against Lassa fever in the country was not a dose of coincidence.
He also attributed the success to the recent signing of the Centre for Disease Control Act into law in November 2018.
Dr Ihekweazu said, “Today, we have an Act signed by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria – giving us the mandate to do the critical work that we have to do for Nigeria and for the world.”
“The increasing political commitment has meant greater recognition and encouragement to the staff that work tirelessly to protect the health of Nigerians.
“It has meant increased funding to NCDC, it has meant an opportunity to increase our staff strength, it has meant that we have a strong confident work for that is taking all these responsibilities on our behalf,” he added.
The touching account of Nasarawa State Governor, Tanko Al-Makura, and his experience with Lassa fever in 1990 drew full attention and sympathy.
The stakeholders agreed that the full eradication of Lassa fever in the West African sub-region would require more effective synergy between nation states and international development partners.
The disease has proven to be one of the most significant threats to Nigeria’s health care system following the annual bouts of outbreaks in various parts of the country.
In view of this reality, the Federal Government is planning disease control as an integral part of the overhaul of the nation’s health sector masterplan.
While both local and international experts agree that progress has been made on this front in Nigeria, the impetus is now placed on the pursuit of final eradication of the dreaded disease.