The Lagos State government in south-west Nigeria says it is taking adequate care of all patients who have tested positive to the Ebola Virus Disease, dousing speculations that the patients were not well catered for.
Addressing reporters on Friday at the Lagos House, Ikeja, after families of those that had tested positive to the virus raised concerns that the patients were not well catered for, Fashola said that the state was gradually developing capacity to manage the emergency situation and called for caution in the media publication of commentaries on efforts to contain the virus.
Governor Fashola explained that it was a very challenging time for health authorities in managing the disease, as the state was just developing capacity for its management. He stressed that the Ebola Virus outbreak was not something that was planned for.
He commended the media for their efforts in helping the government to sensitise members of the public about the risks, the precautions and the necessary developments relating to the management of Ebola Virus outbreak in Nigeria.
Personnel Capacity Issue
Sympathising with the victims of the Ebola virus, the Governor said: “One can only understand the trauma, the concerns and anxiety that the family members are going through.
“The outbreak is not something that was expected, or planned for and getting people who are sufficiently knowledgeable and skilled – health workers – to go in to the Isolation Wards to work has been quite a challenge.
“It is a matter of very monumental courage for those who have signed up and we commend their courage. There is a personnel capacity issue of those who can go in and look after patients. First, Physicians who have to do clinical work there and then support staff like nurses who have to clean up patients, manage their body fluids in a way that they themselves do not become victims.
“Now the Personal Protective Equipment that they wear is very hot and they are literally sealed in, so that you are protected and therefore it is uncomfortable and ideally no doctor or medical personnel should stay in that place for any undue length of time,” he explained.
He further said that from what the experts told him there would be no opportunity to single out a particular person as a very important personality that would get special care, adding that whether it is from the lowest member of society to the most important person, they would all be treated in the same way.
Days after the first Ebola death occurred on July 25, the state government provided an isolation facility and to further contain the situation, President Goodluck Jonathan, last week, set up an intervention plan with 1.9 billion Naira approved to address the situation.
However, Governor Fashola said that the state had not received any money from the Federal Government, explaining that what the state has been doing is to work with its resources. He maintained that all the isolation units, the conversion and everything had been by personnel from Lagos who are working with officials of the Federal Health facility in the state.
Fashola, however, emphasised that what was really needed at this stage was not solely a question of funds.
“What we are facing now is one that concerns a personnel issue, a system issue, a control issue as well a knowledge issue. It is only when all of that have been put into place that one can begin to say how much it would cost.
“So it is not money issue and from what I get, it is not the type of money that we can’t afford but every help from the Federal Government would be useful. What to take away from this is not the money but the fact that even the President has shown sufficient concern to call all the 36 States, their Governors and commissioners for health to get a full briefing of the risks, the process and the prognosis for the future.
“I think that is more important. What we need more is the personnel, knowledgeable people who can join that team and contribute their quota,” he added.