The director general of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa has embarked on a significant visit to Bauchi state as part of preparedness activities of the potential surge in lassa fever cases.
In a statement issued on Saturday, the disease agency says since 2022, Bauchi state has consistently ranked among the top three states reporting the highest number of lassa fever cases and the visit is aimed at fortifying the states response to the outbreak and ensure effective response.
This urgency prompted Dr. Adetifa’s high-level courtesy visit to key healthcare institutions in the state. Dr. Adetifa commenced his visit by meeting with the senior officers at Bauchi State Ministry of Health, the coordinating body for the state’s response. The Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital (ATBUTH), housing the Lassa Fever treatment and diagnostic centres, was a pivotal stop in the advocacy for heightened preparedness. In attendance were the Executive Chairman of Bauchi State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Rilwan Muhammad, Director of Public Health Dr Abdullahi Dan’Asaba, Dr Gandi Yiga (State Epidemiologist).
During discussions at the state ministry, Dr. Adetifa assured continued NCDC support, promising to address the identified challenges as resources permit. He advised the state team to implement a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation system to enhance the management of laboratory consumables.
He equally expressed gratitude for the warm welcome and commended Bauchi’s past efforts in managing Lassa Fever outbreaks. He also highlighted the state’s response to Diphtheria but underscored the pressing need to intensify efforts against the Lassa Fever surge. In response, Dr. Rilwan Muhammad, Executive Chairman of Bauchi State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, appreciated the collaborative spirit embodied by Dr. Adetifa’s visit. He acknowledged the NCDC’s continued support in disease prevention, detection, and response. Dr. Muhammad also outlined urgent challenges, including the need for ongoing provision of laboratory diagnostics and consumables.
During the visit to ATBUTH, Dr. Adetifa met with the Chief Medical Director Prof. Yusuf B. Jibrin who took him on tour of the hospital public health laboratory. Dr Adetifa expressed his admiration for its state-of-the-art genomic sequencing capacity. He lauded ATBUTH’s efforts in controlling public health outbreaks and expressed enthusiasm for future collaborations.
The visit underscores NCDC’s commitment to supporting states in responding to outbreaks and the shared goal of achieving a single-digit Lassa Fever prevalence. Dr. Adetifa remains optimistic about the fruitful collaborations ahead, emphasizing the importance of collective efforts in tackling public health challenges.
In 2023 alone, Bauchi state recorded 945 suspected cases with 160 confirmed cases and 33 confirmed deaths.