Nigerian government has expressed its readiness to prevent importation of Ebola in to the country. The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole made this known on Thursday 10th May, 2018 while briefing the press on the current status of Lassa Fever in Nigeria and the outbreak of Ebola in Democratic Republic of in Congo.
He said Federal Government is fully prepared to stop any attempt to import Ebola to the Country.
He said “Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is coordinating a national working group that is assessing and managing the risk to Nigeria. We are in close communication with our partners including the World Health Organization who are in Congo to monitor and respond to the situation.”
“The Port Health services unit has been placed on red-alert and will heighten screening measures at port of entry, letters of alert have been sent to all states to enhance surveillance activities and advisory note for the general public” Adewole said.
The Minister explained that the Federal Ministry Health has strengthen health security infrastructure to effectively prevent, detect and respond to infectious disease including Ebola.
Speaking on Lassa fever, the Minister announced that emergency phase of Lassa has come to an end.
He said “we are pleased to announce that the following the epidemiological review by Nigeria Centre for Diseases Control and World Health Organization, the emergency phase of Lassa fever outbreak is over.”
Adewole said at the beginning of this year Nigeria experienced the largest Lassa fever outbreak in history, as at 7thMay 2018, 423 confirm cases and 106 deaths were recorded.
During the outbreak, the Minister said , Federal Ministry of Health supported full operationalization of Virology Centre at the Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki and development of its laboratory as a testing site. It has also supported further development of infrastructure at Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital and Federal Medical Centre Owo.
He added that Ministry of Health now have four laboratories with capacity to test Lassa fever against the two that it used to have.
The Minister however noted that the end of outbreak Lassa fever does not mean Nigeria will no longer record cases of Lassa fever, given the epidemiology of the diseases in Nigeria, there will still be reports of cases, but Nigeria is now better prepared and have a stronger response architecture.
“The federal Ministry of Health remains committed to ensuring the health and safety of all Nigerians”, Adewole said.
In his remarks, the Chief Executive Officer, NCDC Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu said NCDC in partnership with Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital has commenced nationwide training of health care workers on Lassa fever case management and diagnosis.
He said “the first phase which covered all states in the South-West of Nigeria ended in Akure on the 4th of May 2018. We are going to the South-East from 14th of May, 2018”
He appreciated the Governors of Edo, Ondo and Ebony States for investing money in fight against Lassa fever in their states.