The European Union has announced a donation of 80,000 Euros (N32 million), in humanitarian aid to assist families affected by Lassa Fever in Nigeria.
A statement issued by Modestus Chuwulaka, its spokesman, in Abuja on Thursday, said that the fund would directly benefit communities in areas most affected by the outbreak.
It said that the EU funds would go towards supporting the Nigerian Red Cross in promoting hygiene practices and disease transmission control, contributing to the identification of suspected cases, supporting contact tracing, and providing psychosocial support.
“The funding forms 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, signs and symptoms, prevention measures and behavioural change.
“It will also focus on food storage and handling pest control activities such as the distribution of rat traps/rat glues, and psycho-social 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 said.
Lassa fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic 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, the remaining patients develop severe multi-system disease, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
Since the first week of January 2020, over 680 suspected cases have been reported by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), with more than 250 confirmed as positive.
While Nigeria is prone to Lassa Fever outbreaks during the dry season (November to April), the number of affected people (suspected and confirmed) this year, is higher than in previous years.
“The European Union and its member states are the world’s leading donor of humanitarian aid. Relief assistance is an expression of European solidarity with people in need all around the world.
“It aims to save lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering, and safeguard the integrity and human dignity of populations affected by natural disasters and man-made crises.
“Through its Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations Department, the European Union helps millions of victims of conflicts and disasters every year,” the statement concluded.