In its efforts to contribute to the capacity building of ECOWAS member states in the area of preparedness and response to yellow fever epidemic, West African Health Organisation, WAHO, in collaboration with Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC has concluded plans to conduct a yellow fever simulation exercise in Lagos State.
The exercise is aimed at providing various partner institutions with a national and regional coordination framework for a multi-sectoral response to a public health emergency.
According to a statement signed by WAHO Communication, Harvey de Hardt-Kaffils, the exercise will focus on an actual and large-scale simulation of an epidemic of yellow fever.
“In addition to checking the viability and compatibility of existing mechanisms in their implementation, this programme will not only enhance awareness among epidemic control managers but also enhance their ability to effectively and timely respond to any yellow fever epidemics.
Hardt-Kaffils explained that the focus on yellow fever has arisen because of the re-emergence of yellow fever in Nigeria after many years. “Since September 2017, Nigeria has been facing yellow fever outbreaks that increasingly threaten urban areas. At least 358 suspected cases have been recorded in 16 states where the disease has already led to 45 deaths.
“The authorities in Nigeria have already taken the lead in finding a lasting solution to the problem. A total of 25 million people are scheduled to be vaccinated in a campaign that has already begun in three states: Zamfara in the North-East, Kogi in the Center and Kwara; and health workers have already been mobilized across the country. The country is also strengthening its routine immunization coverage.
“WAHO as per its mandate remains committed in supporting Nigeria and the exercise being jointly organized with the Nigeria CDC with the financial support from the World Bank-REDISSE project, is one of such projects to support member states.
“At the end of the exercise, we expect, improved knowledge of actors and stakeholders on risk factors for a possible outbreak of yellow fever cases in Nigeria and the ECOWAS region, strengthened preparedness and response measures of Lagos State (Nigeria) for a possible outbreak of yellow fever cases are tested. Team spirit and multi-sectoral cooperation within the ECOWAS Regional Rapid Response Team (ERRRT) members and epidemics control managers are strengthened.”