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Disease outbreaks loom within Nigeria

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By Mercy Kelani

Lack of funding and poor healthcare infrastructure hinder NCDC’s intervention.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) is encountering a multitude of obstacles as it works to tackle diseases prone to outbreaks within the nation. During a press briefing in Abuja on March 9, 2024, Director General Jide Idris brought attention to the lack of funding and poor healthcare infrastructure as significant obstacles faced at the state level. The director of the NCDC highlighted that the obstacles resulted in challenges when it came to providing care, reporting cases in a timely manner, raising awareness among the public, and dealing with outbreaks in regions facing security issues.

In order to overcome these challenges, General Jide Idris proposed a boost in funding for public health programs and emphasized the importance of building strong relationships with security organizations. He also stressed the need for creative approaches to combat disease through prevention and management. He also mentioned that the organization is proactively getting ready for potential future outbreaks through improvement of readiness measures, such as creating risk profiles and hazard profiles tailored to each state.

NCDC took quick action in addressing recent disease outbreaks.

He emphasized the importance of increasing health promotion and risk communication efforts in order to empower individuals to proactively manage their own health, despite the current initiatives in place not being sufficient. The agency took quick action in addressing recent disease outbreaks like meningitis, measles, Lassa fever, cholera, and diphtheria in various states. They sent out rapid response teams and necessary supplies to the affected regions without delay. He expressed sympathy for the families and friends who have lost loved ones to the recent outbreaks, while also applauding the state governments and stakeholders for their effective containment measures.

Confirmed meningitis outbreaks have been linked to a series of unexplained illnesses resulting in deaths among young people in Nafada LGA, Gombe State, and schools in Yobe State according to recent reports. He pointed out the effective actions taken by the Ministries of Health in Gombe and Yobe and stressed the significance of teamwork between government entities, global organizations, and non-governmental organizations to enhance response strategies. The disease known as Lassa fever is a serious illness caused by a virus that leads to excessive bleeding.

Cholera and diphtheria are both infectious diseases caused by bacteria.

It is spread to humans when they come in contact with food or objects that have been contaminated by infected rodents or people. Common symptoms of the illness may consist of elevated body temperature, head discomfort, throat irritation, overall fatigue, respiratory issues, stomach upset, retching, loose bowels, joint soreness, rib cage discomfort, and in extreme instances, spontaneous bleeding from various bodily orifices like the ears, eyes, nose, mouth, and elsewhere. Meningitis is a severe, potentially life-threatening illness that causes swelling of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

Meningitis outbreaks are common in Nigeria, particularly in the dry season, as the dusty and windy conditions can easily facilitate the transmission of the disease. Cholera and diphtheria are both infectious diseases caused by bacteria. Cholera is a severe gastrointestinal illness resulting from Vibrio Cholerae bacteria invading the intestines, while diphtheria is a bacterial infection caused by Corynebacterium Diphtheria that mainly targets the throat and nasal mucous membranes. Toxins released by bacteria can cause a thick grey or white coating to form in the throat, which may result in breathing challenges.

Related Article: Cholera Outbreak: 80 Deaths Recorded

When diphtheria progresses, it has the potential to harm the heart, nervous system, and other bodily organs. The diphtheria vaccine is essential for preventing the spread of this disease and is commonly given to children as part of their routine vaccinations. Measles, on the other hand, is a contagious virus that causes symptoms such as fever, cough, runny nose, and a unique rash. It primarily spreads through respiratory droplets and is most prevalent among children. Measles can lead to serious complications such as pneumonia, encephalitis, and even death, especially in young children and those with compromised immune systems.

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