Towards ending epidemics in Nigeria
Recent report has listed Nigeria as the least able to protect against emerging health threats due to weaker health infrastructures.
This, according to the report, was evident with the Ebola crisis in 2014 West Africa, which saw a loss of 11,000 lives and $2.8 billion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) losses in the countries hit hardest.
The report by the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria (PHN) stated that despite some progress, over the last year, there has been an increase in the incidence of some disease outbreaks, which include Lassa fever, Monkey pox, yellow fever, cholera and meningitis.
Indeed, the recent outbreaks of Lassa fever, Monkeypox, yellow fever, cholera and meningitis have caused significant strain to the nation’s public health sector.
In addition to this, these outbreaks affect the country’s economy through loss of labour, reduced productivity and inefficiency of businesses.
According to statistics released by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Nigeria recorded six deaths and 228 suspected cases of Monkey pox – viral disease in 24 states and the Federal Capital Territory; 130 deaths and 2,238 suspected cases of Lassa fever – viral haemorrhagic illness in 21 States; and 223 deaths and 17,897 suspected cases of cholera in 17 States.
Also the fresh Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo death toll in the fresh Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo reached 33 this week, as virologists feared that the outbreak was ‘reminiscent’ of the 2014 Ebola pandemic, which decimated West Africa and killed 11,000 people.
In Nigeria, despite some progress, over the last year there has been an increase in the incidence of some disease outbreaks
As the world faces increased globalization and urbanization, Altered Disease patterns and increased migration/travel across country borders, climate change, compounded by, low detectoin and emergency response capacity and weak primary health systems; it is only a matter of time before the next pandemic strikes.
The increasing frequency and severity of disease outbreaks such as Ebola, Zika and others pose a growing threat to health and compromise economic development around the world.
Towards ending disease epidemic in Nigeria, the NCDC and the PHN have launched a new initiative – the Alliance for Epidemic Preparedness and Response (A4EPR).
The aim is to develop a formal structure for the private sector to support the Nigerian government through NCDC, in the prevention, preparedness, detection, response and control of outbreaks in Nigeria.
The A4EPR is designed to address priority areas in health security, focusing on building the capacity to protect the health of Nigerians.
These priority areas include – purchase of equipment for outbreak preparedness and response; support to States during outbreaks; advocacy and communications as well as capacity development.