FIGHT TO END LASSA FEVER REQUIRES SECTORIAL APPROACH
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole has called on the states Commissioner of Health, private stakeholders and donor agencies to complement federal government efforts in the fight to end Lassa fever scourge in Nigeria.
The Minister made this call while speaking at the Emergency National Council on Health’s meeting, theme: “State of Public Health in Nigeria” organized by the Federal Ministry of Health.
National Council on Health is the highest decision making body in the health sector, the council deliberated on the outbreaks and response on diseases in Nigeria, especially Lassa fever.
Prof. Adewole, who was the chairman of the council, said the fight to end Lassa fever scourge in Nigeria requires multi-sectorial approach as federal government cannot do it alone.
The Minister said “given the implications of Lassa fever outbreaks on multiple sectors, efforts to control it should include all relevant partners including those outside of the health sector who will undertake diverse roles”.
“The multi-sectorial response seeks to bring on board all stakeholders with the view to supporting the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC), which will be involved in the surveillance, emergency response, management, research and prevention of the disease” Prof. Adewole stressed.
The Minister further identified some roles and responsibilities of State and Local Governments in the struggle to end Lassa fever.
He said Federal government was willing to support state government in preparedness to scale up response if needed. He added that states should educate the public on the disease as well as train health workers on how to manage suspected cases of Lassa
Adewole said states should identify primary isolation centres in the states’ capitals and also support training and logistics of state and local government epidemiologists. He also advised states government to develop public health laboratories in secondary or tertiary care facilities
In his welcome remarks, the Hon. Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, called on stakeholders to work in partnership with Federal government to stem the menace of diseases outbreak in Nigeria.
He further urged the participants to ensure implementation of the resolution of the meeting.
Also Speaking, the Country Director, WHO, Dr. Wundi Alemu, reiterate the need for medical workers to use protective measures while managing Lassa fever patience.
He expressed WHO’s commitment to support Nigeria Centre for Diseases Control (NCDC) and the Federal Ministry of Health in surveillance and emergency responses.
The Chief Executive, National Centre for Disease Control, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu reaffirmed his preparedness to assist states in their efforts to tackle emergencies and outbreaks in the country
By Oluwakemi Olowookere