By: Wisdom Acka
The FCT Administration has intensified surveillance against diseases like ebola, cholera, monkeypox, meningitis, measles and COVID-19.
Particularly, alert mode of the Administration’s Epidemiological Division under its Public Health Department, has been activated against these diseases, which pose mortal dangers to residents.
Director, Department of FCT Public Health Department, Dr. Sadiq Abdulrahaman, who disclosed this while briefing the media on the state of preparedness and response of the FCTA health sector, in Abuja, stated that the proactive move was to swiftly mitigate the consequences of deadly disease outbreak.
Dr. Sadiq stated that the FCT was on a high alert mode, as part of proactive measures taken, even though it has not witnessed any serious outbreak of the diseases till date.
He stressed that the Administration from time to time, conducts weekly review in conjunction with partners such as WHO, NCDC and Disease Surveillance and Notification officers, who are key foot soldiers at the Area Councils’ level.
He said: “For Ebola viral disease, which is a big global disease of public health concern, though it is not yet witnessed in Nigeria, except for the last case in 2014, but we are aware that there is already an outbreak in DRC Congo, with so much consequences from quite a number of deaths, and closure of schools. So, in FCT we have executed a high alert mode even though we have not witnessed any case yet.
“Proactive measures have been taken. Our surveillance system is heightened, and the FCT Administration bought quite a number commodities particularly for these key diseases like Cholera that we witnessed in 2021. We went on advocacy visits to key stakeholders especially in those Area Councils that had high potent of the disease during the outbreak such as AMAC, Kuje and Bwari,” he added.
“The Epidemiological Division of the Department, under FCT Health and Human Services Secretariat (HHSS), have gone into alert mode of all these diseases including incidence managers for COVID-19, Cholera, monkey pox and so on,” the Director emphasized.
According to him, there is ongoing training and retraining of the health workers, especially those involved in periodic reporting of these diseases.
Dr. Abdulrahaman stated that the Department has embarked on awareness creation and support from stakeholders, especially the media in order to get to the grassroots, as it can only be mitigated if those in the hinterlands get timely and right information, to take the right decision concerning their health.
Commenting on some cases of the diseases, he stressed: “For cerebrospinal meningitis, from January to date, we witnessed zero case, for cholera we witnessed only two suspected cases, and zero laboratory confirmed; and for viral hemorrhagic fever specially Lassa fever, which is endemic, we had 11 suspected cases and only one laboratory confirmed with no death.
Accordingly for measles, we had about 245 suspected cases, and zero laboratory confirmed. And for Monkey pox, which had brought a wave in recent past, cumulatively, we had about 58 suspected cases, with 9 confirmed in the FCT from January to date,” Dr. Abdulrahaman explained.
On COVID-19, the Director, noted that despite the presidential directive on 12th December, 2022, relaxing of safety measures and travel advisory in the country, there is still emphasis on issues around gathering, the use of masks and travel protocols especially for the vulnerable groups, as the deadly disease still surges in the world.
“We are not yet celebrating, as the disease has diffused in most countries including Nigeria. So, the pronouncement from the Presidential steering Committee was as a result of sustained reduction in both clinical and laboratory tests visa vice infection transmission of the disease,” he said.
“Good enough, at the FCT level, we have been recording zero case. From the ongoing tests, specifically from our public health facilities and registered consortium of laboratories, which have testing travelers, the report still record zero case as at week 49”, the Director noted.