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In words: The spread of Lassa Fever in rural Nigeria

  • by Fatima Khonat
  • 28 May 19

Cleaning station for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)


Case study

In late January, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) announced a Lassa fever outbreak with over one hundred confirmed cases and 31 deaths. Start Network member ALIMA alerted the Start Fund and was rapidly awarded funding to meet the needs of those affected. With a working presence in the region, ALIMA's response activities included health and santitaion activities with sensitisation workshops for vulnerable communities.

Start Fund's MEAL advisor, Ian Simcox-Heath, and Start Fund programme officer Anne Noirhomme, spoke with, those on the frontline of the response. Below are just a few of the powerful testimonies we received.

Words from frontline staff

"With ALIMA on board, we’ve been able to save patients. Before, we knew what to do, but we had to let patients go because they could not afford treatment. We had to see them go home and die. We felt so helpless and sad. It is much better now.”


Josephine Alabi, Head Nurse at the Federal Medical Centre in Owo

“[At the start of the outbreak], people contacted us about increases in cases. We were without [financial] support for community contact tracking. [The Start Network] saved our people”. 


 Famokun Gboyega, State Disease Surveillance and Notification Officer

“ALIMA went a long way to reducing mortality… We only had 10 beds in the ICU, but had 30 confirmed cases, and more suspected. ALIMA brought in tents and we were able to convert the lodge into separate sections for suspected and confirmed cases… [at the beginning of March], a mobile lab was brought in, and now we’re able to make our own diagnoses.” 


Dr. L.A. Ahmed, Medical Director of Owo’s Federal Medical Centre in Owo

"Tents were used for patients that could not fit in the ward. Had it not been for the Start Fund, we would not have been able to manage that capacity. It was very much needed." 


Dr. Shola, Federal Medical Centre in Owo

Read Start Fund's MEAL advisor, Ian Simcox-Heath, and Start Fund programme officer Anne Noirhomme's, first hand account of ALIMA's funded response on the ground.

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  • by Fatima Khonat