In a bid to fortify Nigeria's public health response to the challenging infectious disease, Mpox, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has joined hands with United Kingdom partners to embark on a comprehensive two-year research project.
This pioneering initiative takes a multi-disciplinary approach, delving deep into various aspects of Mpox. The research will encompass the study of clinical characteristics, the natural progression of the disease, factors linked to infection and transmission, and the experiences of both patients and their families.
The official launch of this ambitious project, held in Abuja, saw Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, the Director-General of NCDC, emphasizing the crucial role of knowledge, unity, and determination in addressing the complex challenges posed by Mpox. He highlighted the significance of this research initiative in confronting public health issues and reaffirmed Nigeria's commitment to employing scientific knowledge and collaborations to protect the health of its citizens and contribute to global health security.
This research project holds the promise of yielding invaluable insights into Mpox, opening the door to enhanced prevention, diagnosis, and treatment strategies. The project will concentrate on key thematic areas over the two-year period, including clinical characteristics, the natural history of Mpox disease, essential epidemiological parameters, and factors related to infection and transmission.
Within these thematic areas, two distinct studies will be conducted. The first is a clinical study designed to bridge gaps in clinical understanding, while the second is a One Health study intended to enhance comprehension of infection and transmission dynamics within the Nigerian context.
The NCDC's active involvement in this research project reinforces its steadfast commitment to its core mission of conducting, aggregating, synthesizing, and disseminating public health research to inform policy. The groundbreaking insights and discoveries anticipated from this endeavour are poised to play a pivotal role in enhancing detection, prevention, response, and control measures in Nigeria while also contributing to shaping global best practices.
The research project arrives at a critical juncture as Nigeria grapples with ongoing challenges linked to Mpox. These challenges have been exacerbated by factors such as a suspected waning of protection from historical smallpox vaccination, ambiguities regarding the virus's animal reservoir, and emerging genomics data indicating possible human-to-human transmission. These knowledge gaps have hampered the development and implementation of effective control measures.
Article by Nyokabi Wanjiku