THE INTERFACE BETWEEN THE LASSA VIRUS EPIDEMIC, THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, AND THE FOOD ENVIRONMENT IN NIGERIA: A ONE HEALTH APPROACH

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O OLUFEMI
N JOE-IKECHEBELU
O OLUFEMI
C O ONABOLA
Y OGUNDEJI
A AKANWA

Abstract

For the Nigerian populace, social and health inequities continue to be disproportionately heightened due to the triad of Lassa virus epidemic, COVID-19 pandemic, and worsening food environment. This review uses secondary data sources to examine the interface of the Lassa virus (LASV) epidemic and the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria and its impact on the food environment. This paper adopts One Health as a conceptual framework and takes an integrative
lens to understand the interconnections and parallels between the scourges of LASV and COVID-19 on the food environment. Significant challenges relating to hunger, poverty, food insecurity, food loss and malnutrition regarding both Lassa virus and COVID-19 were uncovered. The spread of zoonotic diseases transmitted from animals to humans are worsened by unplanned urbanization, urbanization of poverty, insufficient management information systems, population increase, and climate change. The paper discusses practical measures to preparedness and response and suggests that priority should be placed on the strengthening local food environment to encourage better food diversity, access, and affordable options. A One Health approach is holistic and contingent on an informed, inclusive, community-driven, and sustainable infrastructure as well as on healthy biodiversity and functioning ecosystems,
which are necessary for human and environmental health.

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