Professor Isaac Adewole, the minister of health has blamed the current Lassa fever outbreak on the failure of the past administration led by Goodluck Jonathan, to implement a roadmap on health drawn up in 2012.
Adewole disclosed this to the Senate Committee on Health seeking information on the latest outbreak of the Lassa fever viral disease in Nigeria, NAN reports.
Describing the current outbreak as a national embarrassment, he said the virus would have been defeated by now if there had been the political will to implement a roadmap designed in 2012 to forestall future occurrence.
The health minister said: “In 2012 we recorded 1,723 cases, after that, because of the severity, the post Lassa fever outbreak workshop took place and an action plan to ensure this will never happen again was put in place.
“But this action plan was never implemented because it was never funded.”
According to him, they would soon begin testing on a new potential vaccine to prevent the outbreak and spread of Lassa fever virus in the country,
Adewole, who put the current number of cases at 129, said though there was no preventing vaccine, early detection would guarantee better chance of survival.
“We will concentrate on prevention because currently, there is no vaccine, but as of today, I have been notified of a candidate vaccine which we will put through chemical trial to find out if it would work. We call it a candidate vaccine and we would want to run it through trials and that takes some time,” he said.
Last week, the health minister called on health workers at all levels to be more vigilant and look out for patients with symptoms of Lassa Fever.
The viral disease has reportedly killed 41 persons out of 93 reported cases across 10 states of the federation. About three days ago, a 25-year-old student from the Ahmadu Bello University was diagnosed with Lassa Fever at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba.
Last week, a doctor identified as Dr Levi Njamala at the Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital, old GRA, Port Harcourt was said to have died of the disease.