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ADH Twitter Space Amplifies Voices on Issues relating to Covid19, Lassa Fever in Nigeria 



ADH Twitter Space

ADH Twitter Space is a monthly forum hosted by Orodata Science whose mission is to continue to democratize data, and knowledge towards solutions that impact the lives of millions.

The goal is to drive an incisive conversation and share learnings on the wins, missteps, and impact of the Covid19 pandemic on the continent.

The Africa Data Hub (ADH) seeks to support and promote quality access to information, and data-driven journalism to facilitate evidence-based decision-making about the pandemic across the continent.

The March Edition of the ADH Twitter Space, Two Years of Covid19 in Africa: Charting the Way Forward” was facilitated by Mojeed Alabi, Editor of Development Desk, Premium Times and Busayo Morakinyo, International Lead, Follow The Money. 

Over the past two years, COVID-19 has infected 484,453,632 people while simultaneously causing the death of 6,154,204 people. Africa’s economy is still struggling to recover from the suffocating impacts of Covid-19, despite the huge amount of money spent on aid to cushion the effects of the pandemic.

The speakers highlighted some of the missteps of the government regarding the covid19 outbreak and also approaches the government should have taken towards managing the covid19 pandemic. “Nobody is safe until we fix our healthcare system in Nigeria, it is unfortunate because nothing significant has changed in terms of measures we have taken to curb the spread of the virus”, said Alabi.

They also shared their views on the ways covid19 funds were utilized in Nigeria and if the funds and donations were effectively disbursed and managed. “There are still people who think Covid19 was a hoax, it was just a ploy to make money and to shut them out of business”, said Morakinyo

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There are still huge disparities in vaccine access globally. Reports also show that roughly 7.8% of the population in Nigeria has received the vaccine. “One of the factors that have affected the readiness and willingness of people to receive the vaccine is the level of awareness and engagement created by the primary health care center with the citizens”, said Olufemi. 

A major challenge facing Nigeria is that we weak have audit laws, meanwhile other West African countries have their accounts audited effectively. But in Nigeria, our accounts are poorly audited so it is hard to hold anybody accountable”, said Morakinyo.

The April Edition of the ADH Twitter Space was no doubt another insightful discourse, Inside Nigeria’s Lassa Fever Outbreak: Is there an end in insight” and the conversation was facilitated by Chibuke Alagbaso, Health journalist, Nigeria Health Watch and Dr Laz Ude Eze, Founder of TalkHealth9ja.

Lassa fever, also known as Lassa hemorrhagic fever (LHF), is a type of viral hemorrhagic fever caused by the Lassa virus. Many of those infected by the virus do not develop symptoms.

When symptoms occur they typically include fever, weakness, headaches, vomiting, and muscle pains. Health experts in Nigeria have called on the Federal Government and the Ministry of Health to pay more attention to the treatment and sensitization of people on Lassa Fever and its transmission within the country.

The speakers stressed that the disease is highly infectious and easily transmittable, and the government must intensify strategic efforts, just like its response to COVID-19, to reduce the number of infections in the state.

While Alagbaso said several advocacy programs have been put in place by independent organizations to create more awareness, Eze said, “There have been improvements with surveillance, diagnosis and tracking but one of the challenges of Lassa fever in Nigeria is the lack of a good leadership structure.”

When asked what the public could do to reduce the spread, Eze emphasized on the public behavior towards the contamination and spread of the virus.

First is to understand what the disease is all about. It has similar symptoms to other life-threatening diseases that we know. We need to imbibe in our health behaviour to know what is wrong and the next line of action. If it is Lassa fever and you are treating something else, it might become worse because not every medical laboratory can diagnose Lassa fever. We need to get used to general hygiene”, he said. 

For Alagbaso, “It is about taking responsibility. You can do your part to be safe and the next person’s carelessness will get you infected. Everyone needs to be more active in health care, joining in the advocacy push to demand more investment in preventing an epidemic.”

Don’t miss the May edition of the ADH Twitter Space, you can set your reminder and join here.  

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