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Health Commissioner commends NAVRC team surveillance



ANAMBRA State Commissioner for Health, Vincent Okpala, has commended National Arbovirus Vectors Research Centre (NAVRC), Enugu, for carrying out surveillance assignment in select local government areas of the state.

Dr Okpala made the commendation when he received the NAVRC surveillance team after their visit to the state at his office, at the Jerome Udoji Secretariat, Awka.

National Arbovirus and Vectors Research Centre is an appendage of the Federal Ministry of Health that is in partnership with the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The centre is charged with the responsibility of carrying out disease vectors surveillance, management and control in Nigeria.

The commissioner noted that the exercise would help the team to get to the risk level of Arbovirus in the state.

“I am glad that we have a group like yours that carries out research instead of assumptions to help tackle and prevent the spread of diseases.I am happy with what you’re doing to help to keep the state safe; we appreciate your visit.”

Leader of the team, Udoka Nwangwu explained that the team was made up of molecular biologists and medical entomologists.

Mr Nwangwu, a medical entomologist, noted that the visit had helped them to get to the risk level of Arbovirus in Anambra with respect to two select areas — Awka North and Onitsha North.

“The sites were actually selected based on yellow fever outbreaks that occurred between 2018/2019 in the state.

`As part of the team that came here for the rapid response, when the outbreak occurred, we collected vectors of diseases and we discovered vectors even beyond the yellow fever. We trained officers from the state within the civil service, who are actually working with us on the survey that we carried out.

“In the cause of the visit, we have worked with them and two officers from the state playing supervising roles. We have collected mosquito vectors of various spaces within the locality where we carried out the exercise. We also collected human blood samples so that we will be able to balance and triangulate issues with respect to the risk of the virus.”

According to him, the exercise is basically to look at the risk level of the Arbovirus as a follow up to what they have done in 2018/2019.

He explained that Arbovirus mean arthropod borne viruses while arthropods are things like mosquitoes, flies and viruses they bear, harbour and transmit.

Mr Nwangwu said that transmission of Arbovirus was almost in every state in Nigeria since 2017 and those were the things they wanted to look at in their sentient site states.“The five sentient sites states are Niger, Nassarawa, Benue, Anambra and Ebonyi and these are the five states that we are starting sentient activities and we are doing uniform activities across these sites. Gradually, we will expand to other states so that at a glance one can look at the country and say if he/she can visit any part or not.”

Mrs Nelly Dike, state’s Disease and Notification Officer, Mr Emmanuel Ogudu, Miss Ijeoma Ikeakor, medical lab scientists and Mr Peter Altah were at the event.

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