How to Subdue Ebola, Lassa fever in Africa – Scientists

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To overcome the burden of Ebola virus disease, Lassa fever, Monkey pox, and other zoonotic infectious diseases in Africa, scientists have called for the adoption of multidisciplinary approach, which requires the collaboration of veterinary doctors, clinicians, basic scientists, environmentalists, and social scientists, to design an effective prevention formula.

The researchers stated that adoption of multidisciplinary approach is essential in achieving one health, which deals with the prevention of transmission of animal diseases to human being, such as Ebola, Lassa fever, Monkey Pox, etc.

How to Subdue Ebola, Lassa fever in Africa – Scientists
Director General, Nigerian Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), Prof. Babatunde Salako, unveiling the newly launched locally developed medical devices at conference.

Addressing participants at the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) sixth International Scientific Conference with theme: “One Health and Global Health Security: Need to be Proactive Through Health Research”, the Director General, Nigerian Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), Prof. Babatunde Salako, said more than 75 percent of emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic in origin, and many of the same microorganisms infect both animals and humans, while they share the same ecosystem.

Thus, to combat the outbreak of these zoonotic infections, like Ebola virus disease, he said there is need to break professional, disciplinary and institutional boundaries, and to work in a more integrated fashion to effectively detect, respond to and prevent outbreaks of zoonosis and food safety problems.

His words: “To improve global health security, there is a need to look at how this relationship exist and how can we prevent the transmission of animal diseases to human, and where it has been transmitted, how can we treat and limit the spread to human. This will require a multidisciplinary approach, requiring veterinary, clinicians, basic scientists, environmentalists, and of course the social scientists. All of them will have to come together to come up with a better approach of prevention”.

Salako, however, called on policy makers, researchers and workers across sectors to implement joint responses to health threats, develop framework and indicators to ensure impact of one-health activities, as well as share epidemiological data and laboratory information across sectors for quick response.

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While fielding questions from journalists at the conference,  the Chairman of the conference, Dr Aubrey Cunnington, from the Imperial College London, United Kingdom, noted the key factors to enhance the achievement of one health as availability of infrastructure and funds for researchers, which make them prepare for emerging outbreaks.

He said this will enable constant surveillance on human and animal health, looking out for these emerging diseases. And in case of any outbreak, like that of Ebola virus disease, scientists will have infrastructure to combat it. “This requires funding from government and preparation of individuals as well as sharing of knowledge among countries”, he stressed.

The keynote speaker, Prof. Moses Bockarie, speaking on the topic: The role of African governments and research institutions in implementing one health”, pointed out that health security is how we can use one health to prevent public health emergencies like the Ebola crisis, Lassa fever, monkey pox and how the government need to take drastic measures to manage it.

How to subdue Ebola, Lassa fever in Africa – Scientists
A cross section of participants at the international conference

He said the governments of Africa need to priotise research to prepare for outbreaks of infectious diseases, as well as promote public health.

He said the governments of Africa need to priotise research to prepare for outbreaks of infectious diseases, as well as promote public health.

The international conference also witnessed the unveiling of innovative local diagnostic and medical devices, developed by NIMR researchers including:  NIMR Biotech DNA/RNA extraction kits for biological and botanical samples; NIMR-Electrophoretic Machines Model Iⅈ  NIMR-Hematocrit Centrifuge ; NIMR-Biological Incubators; NIMR-Laboratory fitted Oven, and NIMR-Bucket Centrifuge .

 

 

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