Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said that the Federal Government would intensify efforts to control Lassa Fever in the country.
Ihekweazu made this known on Thursday in Abuja at a 2-day Lassa fever International conference with the theme: “50 years of Lassa Fever: Rising to the Challenge”.
He said 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.
He said the conference was also aimed at sharing the 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 said that Nigeria experienced an upsurge of Lassa Fever in 2018, which he described as unfortunate.
He added that Nigeria was, however, rising to the challenge of Lassa fever control.
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.
Tomori said that Nigeria needed to move away from external funding of 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.