Today, Nigeria graduated the first cohort of the Lassa Fever Clinical Management Fellows (LFCMF) at the Irrua Specialist Hospital in Edo State. This was the result of the collaboration between the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC), in collaboration the Federal Ministry of Health, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Georgetown University, the Institute of Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers and Emergent Pathogens of Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, and Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital Abakaliki. The fellowship is the first of its kind, globally.
The Fellowship aims to build and strengthen capacity for the clinical management of Lassa fever, with emphasis on general management, neurology, pediatrics, obstetrics, gynecology, and nephrology. It also protects workers by helping reduce health facility transmission and the spread of Lassa fever among health workers. The first LFCMF cohort is comprised of doctors, with plans to expand future cohorts to include nurses, laboratory scientists, hygienists, and other public health professionals.
Speaking at the closing event, US CDC Division of Global Health Protection Program Director Dr. Farah Husain reiterated US CDC’s commitment to promoting strategies aimed at preventing, detecting, and responding to all public health threats, as well as working with partners to implement specialty training programs.
Lassa fever is a viral hemorrhagic fever like Ebola and Marburg virus diseases and is endemic in Nigeria. In 2023, the country recorded more than 1,000 confirmed cases with 171 deaths across 111 local government areas in 28 states. Healthcare worker infections and deaths are particularly prominent, with 48 workers infected between January and July this year. Supporting Nigeria to reduce morbidity and mortality from Lassa fever remains a high priority for US CDC.