The federal government has stated that there are no charges for Lassa fever drugs and treatment across Nigeria.
The Chief Executive Director of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Chikwe Ihekweazu, disclosed this known in a statement he released on Sunday, March 11.
He said the federal government has ensured that Ribavirin, the major drug used for the treatment of Lassa fever, has been provided free-of-charge to patients “for every single case of Lassa fever reported in Nigeria” in 2018.
He continued: “While we acknowledge the high cost of treating Lassa fever cases in Nigeria, especially the cost of the drug Ribavirin, we want to state unequivocally that the Federal Government of Nigeria has ensured that Ribavirin has been provided free-of-charge to patients, for every single case of Lassa fever reported in Nigeria in 2018.”
“Despite the significant costs, there has not been a single day of stock-out of Ribavirin in any of the treatment centres in Nigeria. In addition to this, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has ensured that every state in Nigeria has an emergency stock of Ribavirin available to manage cases.
“In addition to Ribavirin, the treatment centres have been provided with other essential commodities required for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of Lassa fever cases. The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has had rapid response teams, supporting the state governments of Edo, Ondo and Ebonyi for six weeks supporting all aspects of the response.
“The state governments of the Edo, Ondo and Ebonyi States, with the highest burden of Lassa fever have also contributed significantly to the management of cases, ensuring that every single patient received the best treatment possible. All three state governments have supported treatment centres with dialysis machines and other equipment necessary for the treatment of Lassa fever patients.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria accepts primary responsibility for the response, a responsibility that we take very seriously.
“The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) assures Nigerians that everything possible is being done, not only to respond to this outbreak, but to also build our capacity to prevent, detect and respond to future cases of Lassa fever in Nigeria.”