Specialist Says Nigeria Will Remain On Top Of Ebola Situation

A Public Health Specialist, Dr. Doyin Odubanjo, believes that Nigerian authorities have done amazingly well with their meticulous approach in containing the spread of the … Continue reading Specialist Says Nigeria Will Remain On Top Of Ebola Situation


EbolaA Public Health Specialist, Dr. Doyin Odubanjo, believes that Nigerian authorities have done amazingly well with their meticulous approach in containing the spread of the Ebola virus.

He said this on Channels Television’s award winning breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, on Friday.

The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Academy of Science, like many guests previously on the programme, while expressing confidence in the Nigerian approach, also provided information about the Ebola virus, its symptoms, spread and management.

However, same level of confidence could not be expressed of other West African countries where the outbreak has been more devastating, and this came to the fore during the conversation, with Odubanjo noting that the complexity of the Ebola virus makes it difficult for less sophisticated countries to handle.

There have also been fears, based on World Health Organisation’s warnings, that the Ebola virus could spread further in Port Harcourt, Rivers State and Odubanjo blamed this on the time lapse between the late Dr. Enemuo’s secluded contact with a carrier of the virus and his eventual death.

He urged all Nigerians to learn from the late Port Harcourt doctor and the ECOWAS official who both kept a case away from the health management authorities. He emphasized the need to disclose every suspected case of the Ebola as this would greatly save lives.

While emphasizing the need for the cooperation of every citizen for the efforts of the Government to be more successful, Dr Odubanjo urged the media to be more supportive of the fight against the virus by providing more information to citizens.

Having commended Channels Television for taking the lead in public enlightenment on the Ebola Virus Disease, he asked for more to be done, especially in places outside Lagos State.

He admitted that the late Port Harcourt doctor indeed acted unprofessionally, but corrected the impression that medical practitioners do not need much enlightenment. He stated that the situation called for more enlightenment for the health officials, as there was need to take some part of their training more seriously.

The Nigerian Government’s planned review of the schools resumption date also came to the fore. While appreciating the opinions expressed by some Nigerians that the closure of schools was not necessary when other gatherings were not being controlled, he also highlighted the view that Nigeria could not afford to ignore the peculiarity of gatherings of children.

In view of these, he advised that there has to be a middle ground that would be based on how much sensitization had been given to teachers, private school operators and other stakeholders in the education sector.

Odubanjo, who is also the 1st Vice Chairman of the Lagos Chapter of Association of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria, expressed confidence that Nigeria would remain on top of the situation, having done well so far in the Ebola fight.

He noted that Nigeria had not had access to the recently successful Ebola drug, ZMapp, and yet has the highest survival rate in the Ebola outbreak.

This, as well as the fact that all cases in Nigeria has been traced to the same single source – late Liberian-American, Patrick Sawyer – meant that the situation in Nigeria was not one to be scared of.

Questions were, however, raised on how citizens would be able to identify the actual level of illness that a carrier of the virus would be in for the virus to be transmissible.

Odubanjo advised that because it could be hard to specify the actual level of illness, it would be safer to keep it at the point at which a carrier becomes symptomatic.

It has also been observed that a number of personnel in some public offices and health facilities attend to several persons wearing a single pair of gloves and thereby touching all with the same.

Odubanjo, frowned at the risk involved in this practice, which he referred to as an act out of ignorance. He noted that it was safer not to wear gloves at all and rather wash both hands after attending to each patient or customer, rather than using a single pair of gloves to touch several people.

He also urged Nigerians at all levels to shun the act of stigmatization, which he said was an unfortunate and highly unnecessary act. He insisted that an Ebola patient who has recovered is as safe as any other person who recovered from Malaria fever. They should not be avoided.