Conference abstract

State’s preparedness for coordination of Lassa fever outbreak containment in Nigeria, April 2017

Pan African Medical Journal - Conference Proceedings. 2018:8(32).28 Dec 2018.
doi: 10.11604/pamj-cp.2018.8.32.614

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Keywords: Lassa fever, outbreak, preparedness, states, emergency operations center
Opening ceremony

State’s preparedness for coordination of Lassa fever outbreak containment in Nigeria, April 2017

Bio Belu Abaye1,&, William Nwachukwu2, Odekunle Odegbemi1, Chioma Dan-Nwafor2, Aragew Merawi3, Abdulazziz Mohammed3, Elsie Ilori2, Olubunmi Ojo2, Chikwe Ihekweazu2

1Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training programmme, Abuja, Nigeria, 2Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Abuja, Nigeria, 3African Union, Center of Disease Control and prevention, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

&Corresponding author
Bio Belu Abaye, Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training programmme, Asokoro, Abuja, Nigeria


Introduction: Lassa fever (LF), an acute viral hemorrhagic fever is endemic in Nigeria with annual recurrent outbreaks in different States and varying levels of mortality and morbidity. In order to prevent such episodes with better preparation for early detection and rapid control of the disease, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) evaluated Nigerian States’ level of preparedness with a view to defining areas with high disease burden and risk of outbreak. The aim of the study is to assess the level of preparedness for co-ordination of LF outbreak response activities across the states for informed decision and effective LF outbreak response, planning and implementing of high impact interventions.

Methods: a self-administered LF preparedness questionnaire was filled by 37 State Epidemiologists including the Federal Capital Territory to assess national preparedness. Data was entered, cleaned and analyzed using Epi-Info 7.2. States were stratified into Very High Risk (VHR), High Risk (HR) and Low Risk (LR) based on having ≥ 10, 1 - 9 or zero confirmed cases respectively in 2016 and 2017. State-specific level of preparedness, based on a three-staged scoring system was categorized into: Inadequate, 0 - 49%; fairly adequate, 50 - 74%; and adequate ≥ 75% preparedness. Variables of interest were summarized in frequencies and proportions.

Results: six (16.0%) states were classified as VHR, 18 (49.0%) were HR, while 13 (35.0%). Twenty-six states (70.3%) had an Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) while 24 (64.9%) can activate their EOCs within 48 hours. Thirty-two (86.5%) have Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR) Committees. A maximum of 3 (50%) of VHR states had functional EOCs, ability to activate EOCs within 48 hours and EPR Committees, when compared with 13 - 15 HR and 9 - 12 LR states, respectively. On the state-specific level of preparedness for co-ordination, 16 states (43.2%) were inadequate, 9 (24.4%) fairly inadequate, and 12 (32.4%) adequate.

Conclusion: preparedness for co-ordination of Lassa fever outbreak responses should be improved in all the states, especially the VHR and HR states, to reduce morbidity, mortality, economic cost and psychosocial effect associated with LF outbreaks in Nigeria.