Increased Lassa fever deaths, other major health stories last week

Rats used to illustrate the story.
Rats used to illustrate the story.
Lassa Fever: Nigeria records 381 cases in 2019

Some 381 people have been confirmed positive with Lassa fever in Nigeria as at February 24 this year.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said since the onset of the 2019 outbreak, the country has recorded 83 deaths in confirmed cases. This brings the case fatality ratio in confirmed cases to 21.8 percent.

The Director-General, NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu, however, said there has been a steady decline in the number of cases this year as compared to the 2018 outbreak.

NACA, UNAIDs call for urgent action against discriminatory laws

As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to commemorate the 2019 Zero Discrimination Day, the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) has called for legal protection against HIV-related discrimination in the country.

Since 2014, the Zero Discrimination Day has been celebrated annually on March 1. It is a global event that promotes diversity and recognises that everyone counts.

The Director-General of the agency, Sani Aliyu, said the lack of protective law can feed stigma and discrimination. He said legal protection against HIV-related discrimination is an essential prerequisite for an effective national HIV response.

Ondo records 102 Lassa fever cases, 15 deaths in two months – NMA

No fewer than 102 people have been confirmed positive with Lassa fever in Ondo State, in addition to 15 deaths recorded between January and February.

Wale Oke, the State Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), said as at February 21, 102 people have been tested positive to Lassa fever in the state this year.


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He blamed the late reporting of the case as reasons for most of the deaths. He said most people who died either reported late or were already subjected to alternative treatment and self-medication before they reported to the hospital.

WHO publishes new estimate on congenital syphilis

The World Health Organisation has raised concerns over the high rate of congenital syphilis which remains the second leading cause of preventable stillbirth globally, preceded only by malaria.

A new estimate published by WHO show that there were around 661,000 cases of congenital syphilis in 2016, resulting in over 200,000 stillbirths and neonatal deaths.

Syphilis is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections globally, with approximately six million new cases each year. If a pregnant woman who is infected does not receive early and effective treatment, she can then transmit the infection to her unborn infant. This is known as ‘congenital syphilis’, which is often fatal. It can also cause low birth weight, prematurity, and other congenital deformities.

How community informants help improve polio surveillance – WHO

The engagement of community informants for Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) surveillance has yielded a positive result in Borno State, the World Health Organisation Nigeria office has said.

The global health agency said 17 AFP cases were reported in the state in 2019.

WHO said the involvement of community informants has significantly strengthened the disease surveillance capacity in key areas of the state, including hard-to-reach areas.

It said the engagement and training of local residents to help support diseases surveillance in the hard to reach areas became necessary as surveillance officers cannot access certain areas.

Reports of Lassa fever at Asokoro hospital not true – NCDC

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Monday said there is no suspected Lassa fever case in the Asokoro District Hospital, Abuja.

The Director-General of NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu, urged Nigerians to disregard the report circulating on the social media claiming there was a suspected case of the disease at the hospital.

Mr Ihekweazu said the report is untrue and baseless.

He said there was no confirmed Lassa fever case in the FCT since February 2019.

ICRC to concession Nigeria’s medical warehouse facilities

The Director-General, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Chidi Izuwah, said that plans to concession the medical warehouse facilities in Abuja and Lagos had reached advanced stage.

The warehouse is a medical facility that safely stores lifesaving medicines needed in the country.

It was constructed by the United State Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health.

The two warehouses located in Lagos and Abuja are prefabricated and identical, with a combined total 6,530m2 of floor space and the capacity to hold 7,680 pallet spaces, and cost 5.1 million dollars (N1.56 billion).

Open defecation, major cause of diseases – Medical Expert

A medical practitioner, Towoju Olumuyiwa, has advised Nigerians to adopt good hygiene and stop open defecation.

Mr Olumuyiwa said the bad habits are the major cause of many waterborne, foodborne and environmental diseases in the country.

He said open defecation has become a worrisome practice in Nigeria as this gives room to the spread of diseases. This could lead to outbreak of diarrhea, cholera, typhoid and dysentery.

Damaged Ebola treatment facilities in the DRC

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has raised concerns over the recent attack on two Ebola treatment centres run by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) at the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The treatment centres located in Katwa and Butembo were attacked February 24 and 27 respectively.

WHO while condemning the attack said the health agency and partners were working to ensure the safety of the patients and staff.

WHO said these attacks occurred in areas with ongoing transmission of Ebola and could lead to increases in transmission and result in more hardship for the local community. The violence and disruption to the treatment centres also make it difficult for Ebola responders to carry out fieldwork.

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