In a bid to improve surveillance of disease outbreaks in Nigeria, sub national governments have been urged to reactivate their State Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR) Committees, and provide logistics support for state epidemiologist/ DSNOs for active surveillance and contact tracing.
Other actions required include routine public enlightenment and health worker education on infection prevention and control, identification and equipping appropriate isolation centre in every state capital, kitting public health laboratories as well as collaborating with Federal Medical Centres in the state to make the best use of available human and technical resources.
Isaac Adewole, Nigeria’s minister of health said these as part of his five point action plan to tackle disease outbreaks in the country at the Emergency National Council on Health (NCH) meeting on the ‘State of Public Health in Nigeria held in Abuja yesterday.
The minister further said that efforts to mitigate Lassa fever outbreak in Nigeria started in May 2017. We acknowledge there is room for improvement.
“We found one missing component is political will at states level which our commissioners must champion and reform.”
‘It is very important for all Commissioners to discuss outbreaks and public health issues during weekly Council meetings, just as we do at the Federal Executive Council’,
“We will be reviewing Nigeria’s quarantine law in interest of disease surveillance activities in Nigeria.” Adewole said.
Chikwe Ihekweazu chief executive officer, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said as at February 2, the current Lassa fever number has a total of 405 suspected cases, 105 confirmed cases, 3 probable case, 31 deaths and 15 states with active outbreaks.
“Ondo state is the worst hit in the current Lassa fever outbreak with 114 suspected cases, 43 confirmed cases and 10 deaths” said Wahab Adegbenro, Commissioner for Health, Ondo State
As part of its public health activities, Lagos State Epidemiologist announces that the State is launching its Biosafety Level 3 laboratory in March. This will strengthen diagnostic capacity in the State.