The Nigerian government has reassured the citizens of its relentless effort to curb Lassa fever.
It is also reviewing actions taken during and after the outbreak of disease to improve the level of preparedness and response to the outbreaks.
The Minister of State for Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire stated this at the 2016/2017 Lassa Fever Outbreak after action review meeting in Abuja.
The minister said that Nigeria was working to be de-listed from Lassa fever endemic countries and necessary infrastructure would be put in place to combat the ugly scourge.
”We are talking about standard isolation wards across the country, high quality standard diagnostic centres to reduce the delays and consequences and provide Lassa fever management commodities,” he said.
Dr. Ehanire also explained that government would work through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC to ensure that caregivers were protected while providing care for lassa fever patients.
He said the burden of Lassa fever has progressively increased with this year’s outbreak exceeding into the rainy season with 22 states affected so far and about eight states still active in the outbreak.
“Lassa fever might get worse before it gets better as the country is not diagnosing most of the cases because of the limited diagnostic centres,’’ the Chief Executive Officer, NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu said.
Dr Ihekweazu said that the four functional diagnostic centres for Lassa in Nigeria lacked the capacity to test every case with presentation of the disease and there was urgent need to improve them.
The Lassa Fever Control Committee Chairman, Professor Oyewale Tomori said that Lassa fever has been neglected for too long, recalling that the first case emerged 48 years ago.