Any list on biggest happenings of 2016 can’t be complete without the health sector as major health scares rocked Nigeria and other parts of the world.
In no particular order, here are some of the major health scares in 2016:
Lassa fever was first discovered in Nigeria and the Nigerian government and Nigerians won’t forget the havoc wreaked by the disease in 2016, in a hurry.
According to the World Health Organisation, the acute viral haemorrhagic illness caused by Lassa virus, a member of the arenavirus family of viruses, is transmitted to humans from contacts with food or household items contaminated with rodent excreta.
Believed to be endemic in the rodent population in parts of West Africa, with person-to-person infections and laboratory transmission on the rise, Lassa Fever claimed over 154 lives, while 24 states were affected in Nigeria from the second quarter to the end of the third quarter.
Across West Africa, WHO says Lassa fever killed more than 160 people, most of them in Nigeria, since November 2015.
According to health experts, Zika virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in monkeys through a network that monitored yellow fever.
The WHO’s fact sheet revealed that the Zika virus was later identified in humans in 1952 and had spread to different parts of the world including Brazil where it caused a major health scare when it was first reported in October 2015 and later between the second and third quarter of 2017.
The scare of the Zika virus almost marred the Rio Olympics which took place in Brazil in 2016.
While no one looked out for it, an outbreak of Cholera in the Lagos metropolis was one of the major health scares of 2016.
In the last days of the third quarter, Lagos health circuit faced a test of capability as 45 cases of cholera was recorded in Isolo Local Council Development Area, LCDA, of the state, with six deaths also recorded.
However, the Lagos commissioner for health and the health sector were quick to rise to the occasion and nipped the spread of the outbreak in the bud.
Just when the Global Polio Eradication Initiative was entering the home stretch of a hard-earned three year without a wild case of polio victory in Nigeria, the virus reared its ugly head in the North East.
According to health reports, in mid-August 2016, two polio cases in children were reported in Jere and Gwoza districts of the violence-wracked state of Borno. And within days, more cases were reported; ultimately disrupting the celebration of a polio free Nigeria.
The minister for health, Isaac Adewole had said he respected President Buhari for warning the sector ahead of the polio outbreak.