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FG sets to develop Lassa fever vaccine

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By Mercy Kelani

Task force will focus on conducting research studies on the disease.

The federal government in the country is actively involved in the development of a vaccine against Lassa fever, according to Muhammad Ali Pate, who serves as the coordinating minister of health and social welfare. During the third edition of the ministerial press briefing series (MPBS) in Abuja, Pate addressed the audience on February 28, 2024. The minister announced the formation of a dedicated team, consisting of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), and international collaborators, who are currently engaged in conducting research on the illness.

They have initiated a collaborative effort with the NCDC, NAFDAC DG, and international partners to establish a task force dedicated to developing a vaccine for Lassa fever in Nigeria. This task force will focus on conducting research studies on the disease, he announced. Nigeria is where the manufacturing of vaccines takes place once they have been developed. The task force is diligently working to ensure that in the future, when an outbreak of Lassa fever occurs, vaccines will be readily available for the public.

Ensuring widespread access to health insurance is a top focus.

By doing so, the need for mass distribution of medication will be eliminated. Health insurance has been emphasized as a crucial focus for the Bola Tinubu administration by the minister. He emphasized that ensuring widespread access to health insurance is a top focus for this administration. Over the past few months, over three quarters of a million Nigerians have signed up, he stated. According to Pate, Nigeria achieved great success in administering the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to its population.

He mentioned that, as of October 2023, the HPV vaccine had been introduced in 15 states along with the FCT. Over 4.95 million girls between the ages of 9 and 14 have been vaccinated, accounting for 80% of eligible girls. The Phase 2 rollout is set to commence in various states across Nigeria in May 2024 including Anambra, Borno, Cross-river, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Gombe, Imo, Kwara, Kogi, Ondo, Rivers, Oyo, Sokoto, Kaduna, Katsina, Niger, Yobe, Plateau, and Zamfara.

Government is actively confronting insecurity with determination.

Also, they are currently working on pre-implementation activities in preparation for the significant phase 2 launch, which is an essential step in their continuous fight against cervical cancer. Mohammed Idris, minister of information and national orientation, announced that the direct distribution of ₦25,000 to 12 million households as part of the national social investment programme (NSIP) will be restarting without delay. He emphasized that the government is actively confronting insecurity with determination, mentioning that they are receiving more and more success stories every day.

More so, the minister confidently stated that there is no question that they are emerging victorious in the battle against insecurity. Idris highlighted President Tinubu’s goal of cutting costs through the efficient execution of the Oronsaye report. This would involve getting rid of redundant tasks, simplifying administrative procedures, and maximizing the use of resources. He mentioned that just some hours ago, the president gave the green light to a ground-breaking strategy aimed at cutting down government expenses by putting into action the long-awaited Oronsaye Report.

Related Article: Nigeria Battles Lassa Fever Outbreak

This report, which is entitled Oronsaye Report had been handed over to Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, the former President, 12 years ago. The dedication of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to fiscal responsibility and good governance is evident in his thorough examination of government commissions, agencies, and parastatals, showcasing his unwavering commitment to ensuring responsible leadership. The minister emphasized the need for everyone to work together so as to aid a successful implementation of the federal government’s reforms.

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