Lassa Fever Treatment Is Free, Centre For Disease Control Tells Nigerians

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By  MATTHEW UKACHUNWA, Lagos
Ribavirin, the drug used in the treatment of Lassa Fever, is provided free-of-charge to patients in Nigeria, despite the high cost of treating the disease.
Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) reaffirmed this claim while reacting to a publication which alleged that the prohibitive cost of treating Lassa fever is engendering high mortality from the disease.
“While we acknowledge the high cost of treating Lassa fever cases in Nigeria, especially the cost of the drug Ribavirin, we want to state unequivocally that the Federal Government of Nigeria has ensured that Ribavirin has been provided free-of-charge to patients, for every single case of Lassa fever reported in Nigeria in 2018,” Dr. Chikwe Ihekwaezu, NCDC Nationqal Coordinator/Chief Executive Officer (CEO), wrote in a Press statement.
According to him, despite the significant cost, there has not been a single day of stock-out of Ribavirin in any of the treatment centres in Nigeria.
“No single patient has been deprived of care in any of the treatment centres in Nigeria because of their ability to pay,” the NCDC leader asserted.
He said NCDC has also ensured that every state in Nigeria has an emergency stock of Ribavirin and other response commodities that are available to manage the cases.
Ihekwaezu added that treatment centres have been provided with other ess4ential commodities required for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of Lassa fever cases.
He stressed that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has rapid response teams which are supporting the state governments of Edo, Ond and Eboyi for six weeks in all aspects of the response.
“The state governments of Edo, Ondo and Ebonyi States, with the highest burden of Lassa fever contributed significantly to the management of cases,” supporting treatment centres with dialysis machines and other equipment necessary for the treatment of Lassa fever patients, the NCDC boss stated.
Ikewaezu pledged to continue to build capacity to prevent, detect and respond to future cases of Lassa fever, and therefore, urged people to contact his organization when necessary.

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