2014 World Health Day: Nigeria launches robust Media Campaign against vector-borne diseases

The Honourable Minister of Health, Professor C.O. Onyebuchi Chukwu, had in the presence of the WHO Country Representative Dr. Rui Gama Vaz, hosted a Ministerial Media Conference to mark the 2014 World Health Day with the theme: ‘Small bite, Big threat’, focusing on preventing Vector-borne diseases.

Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu used the interaction with members of the Press on the 66th anniversary of WHO to remind the Nigerian public that the 7th of April is set aside each year as the World Health Day (WHD), stressing that ‘the creation of WHO by member countries remains one of mankind’s greatest achievements.’ He congratulated WHO for the enormous work done by the Country Office in Nigeria.

The Minister further noted that the theme of the 2014 WHD was apt as “we are in an era where vector-borne diseases pose a major threat to public health through many outbreaks recorded in recent times in Nigeria and the African Region”. He also highlighted the major reasons why Nigerians must remain vigilant to identify and contain any occurrences of some of the most deadly vector-borne diseases such as Malaria, Lassa Fever and Dengue among others. 

Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu used the opportunity of the WHD to flag-off the distribution of commodities for treatment of Rabies, Ribavirin for Lassa fever as well as anti-snake venoms to health institutions.

Earlier in his remarks, the WHO Representative in Nigeria drew attention to the global focus on vector-borne diseases. He expressed optimism that the unrivalled commitment of the Federal Ministry of Health in curbing the menace of the diseases in addition to the involvement of the media, presented by the opportunity of the WHD press briefing, will create wider awareness on the impact of vector-borne diseases to which Nigeria alone bears over 25% of the burden in Africa.

The WR who further assured the government and people of Nigeria that ‘WHO will continue to promote Integrated Vector Management as the best approach to strengthen vector control’ added that ’ Nigerians can end the needless suffering and deaths caused by vector-borne illnesses’.