The European Commission has announced the allocation of €80,000 (N32 million) in humanitarian funding to assist families affected by the outbreak of Lassa Fever in Nigeria.
The commission announced this in a statement by a press officer with the Delegation of the European Union to Nigeria, Modestus Chukwulaka.
According to the statement, the funds will go towards supporting the Nigerian Red Cross in promoting hygiene practices and disease transmission control, as well as contribute to the identification of suspected cases, supporting contact tracing, and providing psychosocial support.
The commission was hopeful that the humanitarian aid would directly benefit communities in areas most affected by the outbreak.
It explained that the funding formed part of the EU’s overall contribution to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
“In the two most affected states, Ondo and Edo, the main actions will focus on health education on signs and symptoms, prevention measure and behavioural change in food storage and handling; pest control activities, such as the distribution of rat traps/rat glues; and psychosocial support to affected people and their families.
“In another four states (Bauchi, Ebonyi, Taraba and Kano), awareness-raising initiatives will be launched for the general public, including the distribution of educational material and informative radio messages,” the statement read.
Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic fever (VHF), transmitted by rodents to humans, who become infected through contact with the excreta of infected rats, contaminated surfaces or food, and body fluids of infected persons.
While about 80 per cent of the infections go with no symptoms, other patients develop severe multi-system disease, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said.
Since the first week of January 2020, no fewer than 680 suspected cases have been reported by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), of which over 250 were confirmed as positive.
While Nigeria is prone to Lassa fever outbreaks during the dry season (November to April), the number of affected people – both suspected and confirmed – in 2020 is higher than in previous years.