The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Folorunso Adewole has expressed the confidence that Nigeria would soon be at the verge of being declared Lassa fever free.
The minister made this known at a stakeholders’ meeting held at the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation on Tuesday, 24th of April, 2018, saying the feat was achieved as a result of concerted efforts put in place by government to curtail the scourge.
He stated that inspite of the favourable development, the government would not be complacent, but would continue monitoring the situation to ensure that the disease does not resurfaced again.
The minister informed that as at the preceding week, there was only one reported case of the infection, thus encouraged Nigerians to sleep peacefully without being apprehensive of Lassa fever.
Professor Adewale described as erroneous, the depiction of the disease as an epidemic arguing that if Nigeria’s Lassa fever incident constituted a global threat, the World Health Organisation would have issued an international travel warning barring people from traveling in and out of the country.
On his part, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria’s Chairman, Barrister Abdullahi Mukthar Muhammad expressed delight with the news considering its relevance to Hajj operations.
He revealed that Saudi authorities had indicated their preparedness to take precautionary measures against transmission of Lassa fever into the Kingdom.
Barr. Muhammad allayed any fears rightly harboured by the Saudi kingdom, promising that the commission would implement guidelines issued to it by the Federal Ministry of Health aimed at ensuring proper screening of all Pilgrims before departure to the Holy land, in order to detect and deter any one with a suspected case of Lassa fever or any communicable diseases from traveling for the Pilgrimage.
He assured that all state Pilgrims welfare boards and agencies have vowed to carry out a thorough screening of Pilgrims’ luggage to guard against traveling with rodents or insects or any other items that can transmit the fever.
The Chairman expressed joy that the disease was no longer a threat to the country and commended the Federal Government and the Federal Ministry of Health for the success, pledging the continued cooperation of the Commission to all efforts by the Ministry to stem the scourge.
He further disclosed that stakeholders especially the Airlines have pledged to disallow any person with suspicious fever from boarding their planes and would be very thorough in luggage screening.
Fatima Mohammed Mustapha
Head of Media