Emerging viral infections (EVIs), including viral haemorrhagic fevers (VHF) such as Lassa fever and Ebola virus disease, pose a serious threat to public health. Among others, this is because of their epidemic potential, limited treatment options, high mortality rates, and the lack of available and efficient vaccines. They have therefore been classified as a research and development (R&D) priority on the blueprint list for urgent international action by the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO Lassa Fever R&D Roadmap defines the key areas which need to be addressed, such as improving resources for laboratories, epidemiological research studies, capacity building in all areas of the health system, and the development of standards and guidelines for clinical patient management during outbreaks. Especially the clinical management of EVIs is of major importance, as affected patients often suffer severe complications, and their treatment is especially challenging. As such, health care systems in countries where outbreaks of EVIs and VHFs occur regularly – particularly in West African countries such as Nigeria – need to be strengthened. This project builds on a cooperative arrangement established in the first GHPP programme phase, in which the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine (BNITM) supported the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH) in the development of viral genomic sequencing capacities and capacity building for the realisation of clinical trials. The current project focuses on establishing clinical management capacities, with a focus on severely ill patients.
Improving clinical management of emerging viral infections – especially for Lassa fever and other haemorrhagic fevers – in Nigeria.
Training and competence development
Transferring knowledge on clinical management, including management of complications, and setting up a mobile point-of-care clinical laboratory for deployment in the case of EVI outbreaks.
Procurement of goods and infrastructure development
Introducing advanced diagnostic tools such as point-of-care ultrasound, echocardiography, electroencephalography and fundoscopy; establishing an intensive care unit for advanced management of EVI/VHF patients; strengthening clinical laboratories and adding a point-of-care (POC) laboratory for rapid diagnostics; supporting the local dialysis unit and expanding a specialised unit for EVI patients.
Implementing a quality assurance management system for clinical management; translating project outcomes into evidence-based clinical guidelines and recommendations for enhanced clinical management of patients during outbreaks of EVIs and VHFs in resource-limited settings.