June 30, 2009

Swine flu: FG intesifies campaign

By Chioma Obinna and Chinyere Amalu

ABUJA —Following  the World Health Organization’s advice for countries to be vigilant and strengthen their disease surveillance to ensure prompt detection, Minister of Health, Professor Babatunde Osotimehin has tasked the media to sustain the high level of awareness about the A(H1N1) Influenza among the citizenry of the country.

Osotimehin gave the charge while reacting to the confirmation of 10 cases of the new flu virus in five African countries of Cape Verde, Algeria, Ethiopia and Cote d’Ivoire and South Africa where the first confirmed case of the virus was reported on 18th June 29, 2009.

Addressing newsmen yesterday in Abuja, the Minister emphasised that given the prevailing health challenges facing the region, it is vital that every effort is made to strengthen surveillance and treatment to limit spread of the disease.

“Community sensitisation and mobilization should be intensified as well as precautionary actions such as washing with soap and other protective measures, with the assistance of development partners like the WHO, he said Government will continue to support surveillance and strengthening of influenza laboratory facilities in the country to ensure rapid detection and investigation of pandemic H1N1 2009.”

Oshotimenin who was optimistic that Nigeria has all the technology and drugs required to take care of any possible outbreak and as well have laboratories across the country also said proactive measures were being taken by informing Nigerians who travel to other African countries to be careful and avoid crowded areas.