Inability of world leaders to come up with vaccines to eradicate Lassa fever in Africa 52 years after its outbreak has become a source of concern to stakeholders in Taraba State.
A forum organised at the weekend by the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Jalingo, and facilitated by Kinestic Integrated Project Limited on Lassa fever public awareness, cited the way resources were mobilised to discover vaccines for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), wondering why same effort could not be put towards Lassa fever eradication.
The stakeholders, who unanimously agreed to tread extra legitimate paths to curb the spread of the disease in their various domains and in the state at large, urged medical experts in the country and the world at large to begin the process of coming out with a vaccine that would help in eradicating the disease.
Shocked that between 100,000 and 300,000 Lassa fever cases were recorded yearly in West Africa, the stakeholders made up of traditional and religious leaders, women and youth groups, farmers and others urged stakeholders in other parts of the country to borrow a leaf from their counterparts in Taraba by working round the clock to frustrate the spread of the ‘dry season’ disease.
Addressing the stakeholders on the causes and preventive measures against the disease, the lead discussant, Dr. Garba Danjuma, said that with all hands on deck, “Federal Government’s dream of curbing the spread of the disease is achievable.”
The Director-General, Taraba Agency for the Control of AIDS (TACA), said the need to engage with communities to promote desired health practices and behavioural change could not be over-emphasised to stamp out the disease from the state.
Taking the stakeholders through the history of the disease, which, according to him was discovered in 1969 in Lassa town of Borno State, Danjuma enthused that with all hands on deck, the yearly reoccurrence of the disease would soon be a thing of the past
On her part, the Chief Medical Director of FMC, Jalingo, Dr. Aisha Adamu, said the event was sponsored by the Federal Government through the FMC, added that the event was part of the hospital’s 2020 projects.