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FG inaugurates Multi-Sectoral Committee on Lassa Fever eradication


… death figure rises to 76

Prof. Tomori
Prof. Tomori

The Federal Government has inaugurated a Multi-Sectoral Committee on Lassa Fever Eradication to coordinate the nation’s efforts to wipe out the disease now reported to have claimed 76 lives in the country as at 18th January, 2016
The 19-man committee is headed by the President of the Nigeria Academy of Science, Professor Oyewale Tomori as Chairman, while the Director of the National Centre for Diseases Control, NCDC, Professor Abdusalami Nasidi was named as Secretary.
Inaugurating the committee in Abuja during the Emergency National Council of Health on the Lassa Fever Outbreak, Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, also announced the designation of six additional diagnostic centres for Lassa Fever, bringing the centres to 12.
The first six centres are University Teaching Hospital, Maiduguri, Borno State; Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano State; Irrua Specialist Hospital, Edo State; University Teaching Hospital, Ibadan, Oyo State; Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos, and NCDC laboratory in the FCT.
The additional six are to be situated in the highly-infected states of Bauchi, Niger, Taraba, Plateau, Nasarawa and Ondo.
The inauguration of the Multi-Sectoral committee and implementation of the Multi-Sectoral Response Strategy were the major highlights of the Emergency National Council on Health meeting held in Abuja on Tuesday .
The meeting, chaired by Health Minister Prof. Isaac Adewole and attended by 418 delegates from the Departments and Agencies of the Federal Ministry of Health including Chief Medical Directors/Medical Directors of Federal Tertiary Health Institutions, State Ministries of Health and the Health & Human Services Secretariat of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, Abuja and Development Partners such as WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, WAHO, CDC, PATHS2, DFID, among others, also resolved that a high index of suspicion should be maintained and the surveillance systems should be robust enough to detect further infections.
The Council also observed that unlike Ebola, Lassa Fever is treatable, if detected early and there are adequate treatment centres spread across the country.
“Council therefore reassured the Public on the adequacy of the response to the outbreak and urged the Public, Community and Religious leaders to cooperate with the Health Agencies in their States to ensure prompt reporting of any suspected case,” a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting said.
Meanwhile, Prof. Adwwole has announced plan by the Federal Government to set up 10,000 primary health care centres across the 109 senatorial districts in the country to tackle the disease.
Briefing journalists after the signing of updated Abuja commitment on polio eradication at the Presidential Villa yesterday, the minister disclosed that the first 5,000 centres would be established this year, starting with Fika community in Borno State, where the disease was first discovered.
“What we want to do is put across some innovative funding mechanisms, ability to manage and put to use 10,000 primary health care centres across the country over the next two years,” the minister said.

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