NCDC calls for new ways to tackle Lassa Fever
In charting new ways to cope with Lassa fever in West Africa and defining the future of the disease globally, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, in collaboration with partners organized a two-day international conference on Lassa fever.
The conference tagged “Lassa Fever at 50; Rising to the challenge” was held recently in Abuja.
The Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, while declaring the conference open said that Nigerian government remained committed to strengthening national health security as it was a vital component of achieving the Universal Health Coverage.
Ehanire said that in 2018, Nigeria experienced the largest occurrence of confirmed cases of Lassa fever despite the fact that the virus was discovered in Nigeria since fifty years ago.
Since then, the minister said “Nigeria has been making efforts to halt the outbreaks but it continued”.
He informed that the health experts that converged at the conference were to deliberate with a view to finding final solution to Lassa fever challenge in Africa.
Ehanire said, NCDC and other relevant health sector development partners were conducting research on what was responsible for the continuous outbreak of Lassa fever in Nigeria.
“I am glad that the Nigerian Centre for Diseases Control , together with our partners are taking this responsibility head on”, he said.
He further stated, “we have developed a Lassa fever research plan that is aligned with global research agenda. We shall invest more in training staff, acquiring necessary equipment, developing best protocols and embracing best practices that help us achieve results”
The minister expressed optimism that the global effort would produce excellent result in near future that would translate to more tools for swift response, detection and prevention of Lassa fever in Nigeria.
In his remarks, the Chief Executive, Nigerian Centre for Diseases Control, NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, applauded the partners, stakeholders and experts that travelled from different parts of the world to Nigeria to discuss the way forward as regards tackling public health emergencies, adding that the NCDC, would not relent in its effort to provide surveillance, prevention and control not only Lassa fever but other health emergencies.