The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has announced the rapid decline in the number of Lassa fever cases recorded in Nigeria over the past five weeks.
Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General, NCDC in his statement on Tuesday, said that Nigeria as a country has witnessed a reduction in the number of people who have died from the disease, compared investistressing that NCDC will continue in it’s partnership to sustain response activities in states across the country, despite progress made so far.
”An outbreak of Lassa fever was declared in Nigeria on the 21st of January 2019. Since then, 420 confirmed cases and 93 deaths have been reported in 21 States, the national response is being coordinated by the national, multi-sectoral, multi-partner Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) led by NCDC. In addition, NCDC has supported Ebonyi, Edo, Ondo, Plateau and Kebbi
states in activating sub-national level EOCs for coordination”. He said.
According to him, following the large Lassa fever outbreak in 2018, the NCDC together with partners instituted five key measures to ensure improved preparedness in 2019.
“We have instituted various measures which includes; Training over one thousand health care workers in the six zones in the country on Lassa fever management, diagnosis and surveillance, together with the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital; Prepositioning of treatment and diagnostic supplies to the 21 states that recorded cases in 2018, treatment centres and laboratories; Publication of Lassa fever messages on three major newspapers, weekly radio shows on Radio Nigeria, and intensive community engagement”.
According to him, others include high level advocacy visits to State Governments, encouraging them to do more to prevent and respond to cases of Lassa fever and development of new case management guidelines, initiated a Lassa fever Research Consortium and hosted and International Conference on Lassa Fever to share knowledge.
He further explained that following the declaration of the 2019 outbreak, the Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) comprising of officers from the NCDC, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Federal Ministry of Environment have supported the response in the high burden states of Edo, Ondo, Ebonyi, Plateau, Bauchi and Taraba states.
“NCDC has also supported full availability of drugs, personal protective equipment, laboratory reagents and other supplies required for case management and diagnosis of Lassa fever. This year, there has been no single stock-out reported in any state”, he added.
Cynthia Egboboh, Abuja.