COVID-19, Yellow fever, Lassa fever, three other infectious diseases Nigeria battled in 2020

Nigeria battles various communicable diseases annually, some of which are vaccine-preventable and on the national priority list for eradication.

The country usually experiences yearly outbreaks that peak during the dry season from November to May.

Cases have been rising rapidly over the past few years, with each year’s outbreak surpassing the last, but with the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, it was a different story.

Infecting over 100,000 people in Nigeria and killing over 1,300 since it began spreading about a year ago in Africa’s most populous nation, the COVID-19 pandemic turned the clock back by years in the fight against other infectious diseases. It has interrupted research, trials and other efforts to ease the public health burden.

Nigeria, in 2020, had an unprecedented spate of deaths from some infectious diseases as more focus was channelled towards tackling coronavirus. Aside COVID-19, suspected cases of Yellow fever and Lassa fever claimed nearly 500 people across the country.

There were spates of strange deaths in the year in review, which could not fully be diagnosed, partyly due to priority given to COVID-19.

Just as it affected the economy and almost every facet of life, the pandemic also disrupted efforts to end several non-communicable diseases.

Researchers warned that with disruptions in distribution of long-lasting insecticidal nets due to COVID-19, cases of malaria might increase by 206 million and malaria deaths by 379,000 in sub-Saharan Africa. Scientists also predicted that deaths related to HIV could increase by 10 per cent, tuberculosis by up to 20 per cent and malaria by 36 per cent over the next five years.

Nigeria had been preparing for a pandemic, especially after the Ebola incursion in 2014, but the COVID-19 seems to be the greatest test the country’s health system has faced.

Source: Premium Times

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