President Goodluck Jonathan has dedicated the declaration by the World Health Organization (WHO) that Nigeria is now officially Ebola-free to the many patriotic health workers, volunteers and ordinary Nigerians who worked tirelessly to contain the Ebola Virus Disease.
The WHO Ebola-free certification came on Monday, 42 days after the last case of the Ebola Virus Disease was reported.
Nigeria recorded six more deaths after the index Ebola patient, a Liberian-American man, Patrick Sawyer died on July 25.
Most of the dead were health workers, who President Jonathan said paid “the ultimate price, to stop the deadly virus in its track”.
A statement by the spokesman for the President, Dr Ruben Abati, said President Jonathan also reiterated his appreciation of the contributions of state governments, WHO and other international health organisations, relatives of infected persons and other Nigerians, who either courageously underwent the rigours of being quarantined or complied with all directives issued by health authorities to defeat the virus.
“Nigeria’s globally-acclaimed success against Ebola is a testimony to what Nigerians can achieve if they set aside their differences and work together,” President Jonathan said.
He called on Nigerians to strive to replicate the unity of purpose and the “all-hands-on-deck approach” adopted against Ebola in other areas of national life.
Continue active screening
Several nations had applauded Nigeria’s success in containing the virus disease that had killed over 4,400 persons since outbreak started in March, but President Jonathan, however, warned that the entire country must remain fully alert and vigilant against the re-entry of the virus.
In its declaration statement, the WHO had warned that while “we have won a battle against Ebola, the war will only truly end when West Africa, Africa and the world are declared free of Ebola,”a view that president Jonathan also emphasised.
The President consequently directed that all the anti-Ebola measures taken after the entry of the virus into Nigeria should remain in place and that health officials should continue to actively screen persons entering the country through its air, land and sea borders for any sign of the virus.
He also urged all Nigerians to continue to follow the anti-Ebola advisories on sanitation and personal hygiene issued by Federal and State Health authorities.