Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Sunday assured Lagos state residents of the resolve of his administration to contain the spread and overcome the deadly Ebola Virus which was imported into the State early this month by late Patrick Sawyer.
In a Statewide broadcast, Governor Fashola said the resolve was based on the courage so far shown by the first set of health workers at the State and Federal levels as well as the leadership of the State and Federal Ministries of Health with the support of the Government’s international partners.
He said the resolve is also reinforced by the encouraging reports that emanate daily from the isolation wards about those who are receiving treatment and those under surveillance pointing out that while 61 persons, who have been under observation in the last 21 days have been discharged, there is a report that a confirmed victim of the disease has fully recovered.
Fashola told Lagos residents that contrary to the rumour that it lacks the resources to tackle the challenge posed by the virus, the State has enough resources to fund everything that is needed adding that the House of Assembly has also approved a request for any needed help.
The Governor noted that the recovery of a victim has reinforcement the advice from experts that the Ebola virus infection is not an automatic death sentence, “this is encouraging news from which our containment strategy can profit greatly”, he said, adding that the State has no case of unknown origin which could raise the risk of an epidemic.
He applauded the first set of health workers at the State and Federal levels who, according to him, “stood up to be counted” as well as the leadership demonstrated by the State and Federal Ministries of Health with the support of international partners.
“In spite of fear, they stood up to be counted at a time of grave danger. We salute their courage, professionalism, patriotism and humanitarian disposition. They are the heroes and heroines that we have looked for for a long time. I cannot thank them enough”, the Governor said, adding that what they need now is encouragement and support to gain even stronger control of the situation.
Fashola expressed joy that in the last one week, the response of the State to the sudden challenge has become a lot better than when the news first broke while the capacity to cope with it is increasing daily, adding that although some lives have unfortunately been lost, the State is not yet at an epidemic stage of the disease and Government is determined to do everything not to get to that stage.
According to the Governor, this has been made possible with the advice of the technical partners such as the World Health Organization, the Centre for Disease Control and the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) who, according to him, “have tracked the Ebola virus and studied it for decades”.
While assuring that Government is doing everything to ensure the safety of the workers and give them confidence to continue their work, Fashola appealed to Lagos residents not to do anything to distract them or de-motivate the workers, adding that what the workers do not need are rumours and the distractions that such rumours can bring with them”.
The Governor, who acknowledged the concerns and anxiety of friends and relatives of sick victims, assured them of the concerted efforts of Government and added that that the fact that they expect special care for their loved ones is both understandable and expected of them as friends and relatives.
“I assure you that they are receiving the best care that the experts have recommended to us, given the circumstances; because they say that this is the best way to proceed especially because experienced personnel in Ebola containment and management have always been a challenge”, the Governor said.
He called for additional medical personnel “who are willing to volunteer to join hands with those on the frontline”, adding, however, that the experts have cautioned that those who signed up cannot immediately start to participate in the isolation ward where sick people are being treated no matter how qualified and experienced they are.
“They must undergo a few days of training by our international body of advisers and understand the protocol for operation in the isolation ward for their own safety and sustenance of the containment plan to stop the virus from spreading”, he said.