The Federal Government is introducing a funding mechanism to cater for patients with confirmed cases of Lassa fever in the country, the Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, has said.
He explained that the aim of the healthcare fund was to ensure that money does not become a hindrance for patients in accessing Lassa fever treatment.
We are making plans through the Basic Primary Healthcare Provision Fund, the new funding instituted by the federal government, to cover the cost of treatment of confirmed cases of Lassa fever patients.
A process is ongoing on how to manage this and it is at the heart of discussion at all levels of government at the moment.
Ihekweazu urged Nigerians to adopt all possible preventive measures such as safe food storage principle and keeping a clean environment to ward off rodents.
He said: “You don’t need to be wealthy to keep your environment clean, so, the key thing is to get the messages out in all Nigerian languages that this is what you need to do to prevent the disease.
“Even though the cost of lassa treatment is very high, we have carried the biggest part of that cost on behalf of the Nigerian government, and we have ensured that the core treatment cost of every Lassa fever patient is covered.
Ribalvrin is a very expensive drug but we ensure that every confirmed case gets the drug free, but no matter how accessible you can make the treatment of lassa, it is always cheaper to prevent it.
He said NCDC encourages people not to even get into the circle of treatment because even with all the resource in the world cannot guarantee a great outcome. The best most effective, most efficient and most cost effective form of managing this disease is preventing it from happening in the first place,” he added.