Via WHO's Regional Office for Africa: Journalists join fight against Lassa fever in security compromised North eastern Nigeria. Excerpt:
As part of ongoing efforts to contain the spread of Lassa fever, the World Health Organization (WHO) in collaboration with the Journalists’ Initiative Against Polio (JAP), has taken the campaign on personal and environmental hygiene to both urban and rural communities in the North East Zone (NEZ) with emphasis on infected states of Bauchi, Gombe and Taraba.
Cumulatively in the country, 166 suspected cases (68 laboratory confirmed) and 99 deaths (43 in confirmed cases) with Case Fatality Rate (CFR) of 59.6%) have been reported from 18 states plus the Federal Capital Territory as at 01 February, 2016. In the Northeast zone, a total of 13 confirmed cases and 8 deaths in confirmed cases with CFR of 61.5% have been reported from Bauchi, Gombe and Taraba. The three states have had, ongoing transmission of the Lassa fever disease since November 2015.
Even though the trend of transmission appears to be dropping, the Lassa fever was first discovered in Lassa village, Borno state, north eastern Nigeria in 1969. The disease is therefore endemic in that part of the country with outbreaks recorded every year over the last five years. In order to mitigate the continuing spread of the disease within the zone, the JAP members were sensitized and engaged.
The sensitization, which held in the conference halls of 10 media houses, focused principally on key messages on Lassa fever, the roles and responsibilities of journalists in raising public awareness to prevent epidemics and constructive reporting.
WHO facilitated the formation of JAP in 2007 and the partnership has assisted in creating consciousness among fellow journalists and bringing to the fore, their social responsibility in increasing population immunity against vaccine preventable diseases and promoting routine immunization and community disease surveillance.