No New COVID-19 Cases in Benue–NCDC

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has debunked the claims that 25 new cases of COVID-19 pandemic were detected in Benue State.
This is coming on the heels of report (not News Rider) on 11th December 2023, which was credited to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO surveillance officer in the state.
The report emanated from the Civil Society Organiations (CSOs) and media parley organised by the Benue State Primary Healthcare Board in collaboration with the WHO.
But the Director General of NCDC, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa said on Friday in Abuja that the report is a complete misinterpretation of a statement made by the WHO surveillance officer.
He noted that the surveillance officer, while making her presentation on the epidemiology of COVID-19 in Benue, stated that: “Benue State had recorded a total of 25 cases in the year 2023, with the last case recorded as of mid-April (epi week 18).”
Adetifa disclosed that the information provided by the surveillance officer was based on the publicly available situation report (SITREP) published weekly by the state Ministry of Health.
He stated that since the announcement of the index case of COVID-19 in Nigeria, that a total of 6, 013, 826 tests have been conducted, with 267,184 confirmed case and 3,155 deaths.
“In the last quarter of the year (October to December 2023), there have been a total of 15,481 test conducted and 75 confirmed cases in 25 states.
‘Since the WHO official declaration that COVID-19 no longer constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), the Federal Government through the NCDC has included COVID-19 in the integrated disease surveillance strategy as a priority infectious disease which now requires conducting routine COVID-19 testing and reporting it along with other infectious diseases,” he added.
Adetifa informed that COVID-19 testing is part of clinical care for pandemic flu preparedness, and bi-directional testing during investigations for influenza, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, as well as in high-risk populations.
The director-general informed that COVID-19 may be associated with severe illness, hospitalisation, and death among the elderly and other established high-risk groups.
To this end, he assured that the NCDC would continue to test and detect COVID-19 cases throughout the year from patients exhibiting Severe Acute Respiratory Infections (SARI) or Influenza-like illness (ILI).
Adetifa disclosed that there are ongoing efforts to streamline surveillance for pandemic influenza, SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory pathogens of interest such as Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) infections.
He noted that as the fourth estate of the realm, the role of the media is both critical and indispensable to public health and national security, adding that NCDC values the partnership with media colleagues.
“While we appreciate this collaboration, we will continue to reiterate the importance of responsible reporting to ensure the dissemination of accurate information and to avert any public health threat that may arise from the infodemics that follow incorrect or sensational health reports.
“This is essential in preventing any misinformation that could fuel unnecessary concern and panic among Nigerians,” Adetifa said,
The DG maintained that NCDC remains committed to protecting the health of Nigerians and ensuring trust through transparency by consistently fostering open communication channels and providing accurate and timely information on issues of public health importance.

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