Nigeria has continued to see concurrent outbreaks of infectious illnesses despite the COVID 19 pandemic. PATIENCE IVIE IHEJIRIKA writes about the government’s need to improve its preparedness.
Climate change, urbanization, and a lack of proper water and sanitation are all breeding grounds for fast-spreading, catastrophic outbreaks, so there is no way to avoid them.
Despite the COVID 19 pandemic, Nigeria continues to face other infectious diseases such as the continuing cholera outbreak and new monkeypox instances.
According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) weekly epidemiological report released on Monday, 526 people have died as a result of the 22,130 cholera cases registered in 18 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Benue, Delta, Zamfara, Gombe, Bayelsa, Kogi, Sokoto, Bauchi, Kano, Kaduna, Plateau, Kebbi, Cross River, Nasarawa, Niger, Jigawa, Yobe, Kwara, and the Federal Capital Territory are among the states affected.
“In the last two weeks, there has been a drop in the number of new cases. The three states of Bauchi (2438), Kano (674), and Plateau (87) account for 91% of the 3,519 cases. In epi week 28, there were no new state-reported cases, resulting in a total of 1,634 suspected cases, a 13.3% decline from the 1885 suspected cases reported in week 27.
“According to the report, a total of 22,130 suspected cases, including 526 deaths (CFR 2.4%), have been recorded from 18 states and the FCT as of July 22, 2021.
According to the NCDC, 59 suspected cases of monkeypox have been reported, including 15 confirmed cases.
Remember when a Texas resident returned from Nigeria and tested positive for monkeypox?
It was the first confirmed case of the virus in the United States since 2003, and preliminary tests revealed that the patient had been infected with a type of the virus common in West Africa.
“Over 170,000 COVID-19 infections and over 2,000 deaths have been reported in Nigeria. “It hurts me to think that we may not have seen the worst of this pandemic yet,” said NCDC Director-General Dr. ChikweIhekweazu.
Ihekweazu said this at the commencement of the NCDC’s 2021 Nigerian Conference of Applied and Field Epsychology (NICAFE), noting that the country is dealing with several concurrent disease outbreaks, not just a pandemic.
“Not only are we dealing with a pandemic in Nigeria, but we’re also dealing with various disease outbreaks at the same time. In the last month, we’ve seen an increase in COVID-19 cases, cholera outbreaks in multiple states, and fear over the discovery of a monkeypox case in the United States with a travel history from Nigeria. We find cases of yellow fever, Lassa fever, measles, and other endemic infectious diseases in Nigeria every week.
“That is our reality in Nigeria: our tropical environment, high population density, and low socioeconomic conditions put us at risk of annual, multiple, concurrent illness epidemics. As a result, we need to stay one step ahead of these viruses.
We must also consider the additional public health concerns that lie ahead of us: our population is rapidly increasing, and this will have a huge influence on our healthcare system.
“Antimicrobial resistance is on the rise around the world, and this will have an impact on the prevention and treatment of infectious illness cases. We’re also dealing with rising noncommunicable disease risks and prevalence,” he said.
“In the previous five years in Nigeria, we have prioritized efforts to strengthen our health security,” says the minister of health, Dr. OsagieEhanire. Since the founding of the NCDC National Reference Laboratory in 2017, the NCDC has led the charge to build at least one molecular laboratory in each state by 2020. The NCDC has led the creation of State Public Health EOCs around the country since the formation of the National Public Health Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) in 2017.
In his remarks at the NICAFE conference, the minister stated that the country has continued to strengthen government ownership of its Nigeria Field Epidemiology Training Program, with NCDC coordinating on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Health and collaboration with the Federal Ministries of Agriculture and Environment.
“Investments in health security have remained a top priority for the federal government. These are only a few examples of how we’re improving health security and public health, as well as field epidemiology,” he said.