Hajj 2018: Nigeria Assures Saudi Authorities Of Tackling Lassa Fever.
Prof. Isaac Adewole. Minister of Health
Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, has said that the country is on the verge of tackling the Lassa fever outbreak.The Minister spoke Tuesday at a meeting on Lassa fever which held inside the conference hall of the office of Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), in response to fears raised by Saudi Arabian authorities on the outbreak of the disease in Nigeria and its likely impact on Hajj 2019.
Outbreak of Lassa fever has been reported in a number of states in the country.According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 1081 suspected cases and 90 deaths have been reported from 18 states (Anambra, Bauchi, Benue, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekite, Federal Capital Territory, Gombe, Imo, Kogi, Lagos, Nasarawa, Ondo, Osun, Plateau, Rivers, and Taraba) between January 1 through February 25 this year.
WHO, however, said in a report Sunday that there is a steady decline in Lassa fever cases and deaths from 70 by February 18 to five by April 15.Mr Adewole said there was only “one case last week through out the country”.He also said so far, Nigeria is almost free of the disease and a declaration on that would soon be made.The health minister said even at its prime, Lassa fever was only prevalent in three states.
“By tomorrow we are in a position to declare Nigeria zero of Lassa feverThe week before, we had five, last week, one,” he said.The minister said there are disease outbreaks all over the world.“We go round to keep Nigerians safe. We have suppressed and caged it, it is under control and we are going to declare it over,” he said.Pointing out the measures taken to curtail the outbreak of the disease, Mr Adewole said his ministry set up a Lassa fever eradication committee under the leadership of Oyewale Tomori a leading expert in the field, to look into the situation and proffer strategies for its curtailment by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
He said the Ministry of Health is ready any day to tackle any disease outbreak not just Lassa fever.“We have 300 well-trained disease surveillance officers who go round the country to monitor outbreaks so that it can be dealt with immediately,” he said.The minister said no nation can be free of diseases, but that “how a nation reacts is what matters.”“Nigeria has successfully tackled Ebola and almost completely tackled Polio.
The military is helping in vaccinations and in one or two years will be certified polio free.“We had monkeypox in three South-south states but it was quickly brought under control,” he said. Mr Adewole said Lassa fever can be treated when diagnosed early.He said health workers often mistake its symptoms for Malaria or typhoid which allows it to develop and become a problem.
He said it takes between five to 21 days for the infection to becomes serious.On Hajj 2018 pilgrims, Mr Adewole said his ministry is working with state governments to ensure that “all intending pilgrims are properly screened of and sign of fever before they are allowed to travel.”
Source : IWN Online Editor
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