With the recent outbreak of Lassa fever in Nigeria, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA) has taken rapid steps to elevate awareness of this deadly disease and its prevention.
Having already claimed at least 41 lives of the nearly hundred reported cases in at least 10 states of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa has released info-graphics and behavior change communications to equip the general public with critical information that can potentially save lives.
An acute hemorrhagic fever caused by the Lassa virus, Lassa fever can be transmitted through contact with an infected rodent or contact with the bodily secretions of an infected person, including mother-to-child transmission and consumption of infected food items.
Focusing on the effect of Lassa fever on pregnancy, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa shared that pregnant women, especially those in the third trimester of pregnancy, face a higher risk of contracting the disease – which causes mortality in 95% of cases. As studies have indicated, the increased likelihood of mortality at this stage of pregnancy is due to immunosuppression associated with the third trimester of pregnancy. To prevent Lassa fever, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa, led by H.E. Mrs. Toyin Saraki, has placed emphasis on hand-washing and rodent control, while warning against contact with infected bodily fluids.
In light of the prodigious threat posed by Lassa fever to an already fragile public healthcare system, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa also aims to facilitate capacity building for healthcare workers, especially in the areas of reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health (RMNCAH), in order to minimize morbidities and mortalities resulting from the disease.