Home News ‘NCDC confronts multiple hurdles in tackling epidemic-prone diseases in Nigeria’

‘NCDC confronts multiple hurdles in tackling epidemic-prone diseases in Nigeria’

by Haruna Gimba
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By Iyemah David

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) said it is facing numerous challenges in addressing epidemic-prone diseases in the country.

The Director General, Dr Jide Idris, highlighted inadequate funding and substandard healthcare infrastructure as part of the challenges at states level during a news conference at the weekend in Abuja.

The NCDC boss said that the challenges led to difficulties in treatment, delayed reporting of cases, limited public awareness, and outbreaks in areas with compromised security.

To tackle the obstacles, he advocated increased investment in public health initiatives and focusing on strengthening partnerships, collaborating closely with security agencies, and implementing innovative strategies for disease prevention and control.

Additionally, he said that the agency was actively preparing for future outbreaks by enhancing preparedness efforts, including the development of risk profiles and state-specific hazard profiles.

Others he said, were training sessions for healthcare workers, strategic positioning of medical supplies, and enhancing laboratory capabilities to improve outbreak response.

In spite of these efforts, he said there was a need to ramp up health promotion and risk communication initiatives to empower individuals to take control of their health.

He said that the agency responded swiftly to recent outbreaks of diseases such as meningitis, measles, Lassa fever, cholera, and diphtheria across different states, dispatching rapid response teams and essential materials to affected areas.

He extended condolences to families and friends who lost loved ones to those outbreaks and commended the efforts of state governments and stakeholders in containing them.

Recent reports of mysterious illnesses leading to fatalities among young individuals in Nafada LGA, Gombe State, and schools in Yobe State, had been confirmed as meningitis outbreaks.

He highlighted proactive responses by the Gombe and Yobe States ministries of health and emphasised the importance of collaborative efforts among government agencies, international partners and NGOs to strengthen response efforts.

Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic (excessive bleeding) illness that is transmitted to humans through contact with food or household items contaminated by infected rodents or contaminated persons.

Its symptoms include fever, headache, sore throat, general body weakness, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle pains, chest pain, and in severe cases, unexplainable bleeding from ears, eyes, nose, mouth and other body openings.

Meningitis is a serious disease that can lead to inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.

In Nigeria, outbreaks of meningitis occur frequently, especially during the dry season when dust and dry winds can trigger the spread of the disease.

Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal illness caused by infection of the intestine with vibrio cholerae bacteria.

Diphtheria is a bacterial infection caused by Corynebacterium diphtheria. It primarily affects the mucous membranes of the throat and nose.

The bacteria release toxins that can lead to the formation of a thick grey or white coating in the throat, making breathing difficult. In severe cases, diphtheria can damage the heart, nervous system and other organs.

Immunisation through the diphtheria vaccine is a key preventive measure, and it is often administered as a part of routine childhood vaccinations.

While measles is a highly contagious viral infection characterised by fever, cough, runny nose, and a distinctive rash. It spreads through respiratory droplets and is most common in children.

Complications of measles can be severe and may include pneumonia, encephalitis (brain inflammation), and death, particularly in young children and individuals with weakened immune systems.

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