Agency plans awareness campaign on Lassa fever
MINISTER of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu has said that Nigeria is not endemic to Yellow Fever (YF) and, therefore, did not warrant the reported deportation last week of 125 Nigerians carrying alleged fake yellow fever cards by the South Africa immigration.
Meanwhile, the National Orientation Agency (NOA) will soon begin a nation-wide awareness campaign on the menace of Lassa fever recently reported in some states across the country with a view to preventing the spread of the disease.
Making the assertion at a media briefing yesterday in Abuja, Chukwu agreed that Nigeria is one of the 44 countries at risk.
He said: “The last confirmed cases of Yellow Fever in Nigeria were in 1995 when 25 cases with one death were recorded.”
Chukwu noted that countries at risk of Yellow Fever may be required to have their citizens travelling out to take the Yellow Fever vaccination and therefore have a Yellow Card in accordance with the International Health Regulation 2005 (IHR 2005).
He said that the list of other diseases for which vaccination was required will depend on individual countries in line with the International Human Rights (IHR) 2005.
The Guardian gathered that the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVPs) commonly known as Yellow Card has three diseases (Cholera, Yellow Fever and Smallpox: IHR 1969).
After the revision of IHR 2005, the card now covers diseases and other public health events that are immunisable in accordance with the revised IHR 2005.
The minister maintained that with the revised IHR 2005 guidelines, only Yellow Fever required vaccination. Cholera vaccination stopped in 1973 while the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared on May 8, 1980 that smallpox had been eradicated.
He stressed that in the 1970s and early 1980s, the Yellow Cards were legally issued centrally by the Epidemiology Division of the Federal Ministry of Health.
The NOA’s Director-General, Mr. Mike Omeri disclosed this during a courtesy visit to the Minster of State for Health, Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate in Abuja.
The visit, the agency’s Assistant Director Press, Fidel Agu, said was to acquaint the minister on the agency’s new strategy for mass mobilisation and sensitisation on issues of national importance.