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Nigeria not prepared for future pandemics – Expert

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COVID-19

A foremost Nigerian virologist, Prof. Oyewale Tomori, has said that the COVID -19 pandemic clearly showed that Nigeria and the world at large were ill-prepared and ill-equipped to deal with unforeseen medical emergencies.

  Tomori stated this in a lecture he delivered on the outbreak of diphtheria in Kano, over the weekend.

  “I think we have either not learnt much or forgotten what we learnt so soon or learnt the wrong lessons. As such, it does not seem as if we are ready for the next epidemic. Take for example the annual increase (almost doubling) the number of reported suspected Lassa fever cases since 2019, 5,057 in 2019, 6791 in 2020, 4654 in 2021, and 8,202 in 2022.The 2021 drop in the number of reported cases may be attributed to the near-total focus on COVID-19. We seem unable to stem the tide of the annual outbreaks of Lassa fever, a disease that was first discovered in 1969,” he said.

  The expert said that the people, the community or the individual are the most important factor in disease control and prevention.

  “An individual is infected by a pathogen, others get infected through that index case, and a sporadic case becomes an outbreak, an epidemic or a pandemic. It all starts with that single and index case. We must learn that the individual is the most important factor in disease epidemics. Educate the individual to be aware of his/her role in the prevention and/or spread of diseases, teach him/her how to protect himself/herself and how he/she can help stop the spread of a disease,” he explained.

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