Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, has said the Federal Government has plans of boosting efforts in combating Lassa Fever.
Ihekweazu expressed on Thursday in Abuja at a 2-day Lassa fever International conference with the theme: “50 years of Lassa Fever: Rising to the Challenge.”
The conference marked 50-year of the discovery of Lassa Fever in Nigeria, adding that it’s aimed at combining efforts to eradicate the disease as well as sharing knowledge gained over years.
”The point of this conference is to bring together everyone working on Lassa, researchers from Nigeria and across the world.
”Both researchers working on vaccines, on new drugs, on social science to share knowledge, share information. So, collectively, we can pull that knowledge and start moving towards elimination.
”Elimination is not a magic bullet. It is a collective outcome of the work that you see being presented at this conference today,” ihekweazu said.
He also described the outbreak of Lassa fever in 2018 as an unfortunate incident but Nigeria has risen to the challenge in taming it.
Prof. Oyewole Tomori, Chairman, National Lassa Fever Steering Committee in Nigeria, in his lecture, said he was optimistic that soon a vaccine for Lassa Fever would be developed in Nigeria emphazing the need to move away from externally funded laboratories.
”Whatever laboratories we have now are being funded by external sources.
“We need to change our attitude, Nigeria has to improve from that and fund our laboratories.”
In his contribution, Dr Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, said that inter agency collaboration would help curb disease outbreaks in Nigeria.
Shuaib said the conference was an amazing opportunity to build on the successes that was recorded in the disease control in the country.