The Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Health has commended the collaborative efforts of state Governments in the control of the outbreak of Lassa fever, which has spread to 27 states, and also their collaboration to ensure that Corona Virus does not enter Nigeria.
The Minister gave this commendation at the strategic meeting of the Honourable Commissioners of Health organised by the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), in Abuja
Dr.Ehanire informed that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and Port Health Services (PHS) division of the Ministry, are coordinating government response to control the outbreak of Lassa fever and other strategies to halt the migration of Corona virus into the country. He stated that despite the increase in the number of confirmed cases, the overall Case Fatality Rate (CFR) for Lassa fever in 2020 is now under 13% compared to the same period in 2019 which was nearly 20%, and also years back when it was over 30%.
The Minister disclosed that to further lower the Case Fatality Rate, the Federal government has increased support for response activities such as surveillance, contact tracing and funding. He declared that the battle is not for NCDC or the federal government alone, assuring that government on its part would support affected states with the deployment of Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) to improve case management and outcomes.
Dr. Ehanire maintained that Lassa fever is preventable and can be treated especially if cases are presented early enough to a health care facility for health care workers to give correct diagnosing and prompt care. He said that federal government and states should always campaign for high standards of personal, domestic, environmental and food hygiene, especially with regards to food storage, to avoid invasion by rodents.
The Minister commended the Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation and Dangote Foundation for convening the meeting in November 2020, where the Nigeria Governors Forum, on behalf of all the States resolved to fully implement Primary Health Care Under One Roof, Review State Primary Health Care performance on a quarterly basis and to fulfil all associated Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) state requirements such as State counterpart funding, as stipulated in the 2014 National Health Act, amongst others.
He appealed to State Governments to ensure full implementation of these commitments to ensure that Primary Health Care system works to deliver quality services to our people.
Dr. Ehanire advised healthcare providers to always practise universal healthcare pesonal precautions and observe infection prevention and control protocols to protect themselves from harm, especially the use of surgical masks, gloves, clean environment, starched lab coats and aprons should be standard gear from now on. She stressed.