NCDC Begins Congenital Rubella Surveillance in Nigeria

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Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS) is a vaccine-preventable condition which usually affects children resulting in long term disability, poor quality of life and low life expectancy. The cost of correcting the disability caused by CRS is usually unaffordable especially in the low resource setting like Nigeria. Unfortunately, there are no reliable data on the national burden of CRS in Nigeria.

As part of its mandate to protect the health of Nigerians, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has made significant progress towards introducing an effective surveillance system to determine the true burden of CRS. With this step, it is expected that there will be improved knowledge of the disease, as well as baseline data to estimate the true burden of CRS. This will provide support for the planned introduction of Rubella Vaccine into the National Program on Immunization.

To this end, NCDC has recently conducted an assessment of tertiary health facilities across geopolitical zones to identify potential rubella focal sites for inclusion into the National rubella sentinel sites. This was followed by a national CRS workshop with the aim of bringing selected facilities together to agree on common principles and identify site coordinators as well as site surveillance focal points.

Consequently, four tertiary health facilities were selected as sentinel sites and these include:

  • Lagos University Teaching Hospital
  • University of Enugu Teaching Hospital
  • Jos University Teaching Hospital
  • Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital
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These sentinel sites will work closely with the NCDC and its National Reference Laboratory, as the foundation for a national CRS surveillance system in Nigeria. We are grateful to the US Centers for Disease Control (US CDC) for the technical support provided in this project.