The Nigerian Infectious Disease Society has called for stronger surveillance and diagnostic facilities to guarantee infectious diseases threatening public health are effectively prevented and controlled.
It comes amidst concern that failure to detect or diagnose cryptococcal meningitis in people living with HIV/AIDS means nearly all patients co-infected with meningitis die within nine months.
The disease is typically mistaken for tuberculosis, the group said, and diagnosis of it is poor.
The risk of infection with the fungus, which can be breathed in, is higher when a patient’s count of CD4 cells—helper cells that lead attacks aginst infections—is less than 100.
At its scientific conference in Abuja, NIDS said treatment for cryptococcal meningitis using fluconazole monotherapy was ineffective—while antifungal medications like amphotericin, which greatly improve survival are absent in both public and private hospitals and pharmacies.
In a communique at the end of its scientific conference, NIDA called for government to provide “purpose-built isolation units and facilities for optimal management of highly pathogenic infectious diseases in our health institutions especially at the tertiary care level.”
It raised concern about the outbreaks of including Lassa fever, cerebrospinal meningitis, cholera and re-emergence of monkeypox.
“In view of the emergence and re-emergence of infectious diseases and the attendant public health consequences, there is urgent need for national and regional reference laboratories with comprehensive capacity to diagnose viral and other pathogens of public health importance,” said NIDS president Habib Abdulrazak, who signed the communique.
“Existing laboratories at various levels also need to be strengthened,” said Abdulrazak.
“With the current streamlining of international support for HIV/AIDS care and management, there is urgent need for robust indigenous government and non-governmental support towards provision of laboratory diagnostic capacity and effective drugs for management of HIV/AIDS and related opportunistic infections such as cryptococcal meningitis, among others.”