Ahead of the Lassa Fever International Conference, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control NCDC held a press conference to introduce LIC2019 to the media.
In the last 50 years, Nigeria has recorded several pockets of Lassa Fever outbreaks, most of them going untracked due to the country’s capacity to tackle the diseases.
“The last two years has allowed us to accelerate efforts on the country’s approach to the prevention, detection, and response to the disease”- Head of Lassa Fever Technical Working Group NCDC, Mrs. Elsie Ilori said at the press conference
“As we progressed, the global community realized the importance of this disease and joined in raising its profile to enhance the commitment of the global scientific community to the disease”- she added
“In 2018, Nigeria experienced what we have described as the largest outbreak of Lassa fever in the country. We had confirmed cases in 21 states. That outbreak raised several questions and pushed us to think more about the research areas that must be strengthened for us to control Lassa fever. Since then, we have developed a national Lassa fever research plan, carried out genetic sequencing to better understand the virus, increased our diagnostic, surveillance, risk communications, coordination, and other capacities”- Director General NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu
“We are marking 50 years since this disease was first diagnosed by pushing ourselves to do more. We have agreed that we will work harder to prevent deaths recorded from Lassa Fever. This we hope to drop from 26% currently to less than 10% in the next 5 years.
“With this conference, Nigeria is setting herself on a path to more accountability to the lives we are meant to protect. We have done a lot of work but we know we can do more, and we will do more.
“At the conference, we will be exchanging ideas, listening to new thoughts, and making new friends. From these, new scientific collaborations will commence”- He said
He thanked the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Honorable Minister of Health for the political commitment to health security. He also expressed gratitude to partners for working together as we rise to the challenge.
He added: “In the coming days, we will all bear witness to the power of collaboration. We urge all Nigerians to follow us closely on social media. We are curating all our content through the hashtag LIC2019. We hope the action continues after the conference.”
The conference on Lassa fever would hold in Abuja from Jan. 16 to Jan. 17, 2019. Join this first one for a memorable scientific experience.