Ebola: Group Educates Mothers Ahead Of Resumption Of Schools

EbolaAhead of the September 22 date approved for the resumption of schools across the country, the non-governmental organisation of Nigeria’s first lady, Patience Jonathan, has launched a campaign to sensitise mothers on the Ebola virus disease.

The Women for Change Initiative is a non-governmental organisation of Nigeria’s first lady, Patience Jonathan, which mobilizes women for socio-economic and political change in Nigeria.

According to the group, targeting the women is one sure way of helping school children, who will soon return to their classes, to prevent the spread of the disease.

The group says zonal and states coordinators of the organisation would train parents at the grassroots on personal hygiene before children return to schools. They would also be trained on how to identify symptoms of the deadly virus.

At the launch, some of the training provided by team of medical experts from the State House included how to identify the disease, good personal hygiene and the need to avoid contact with body fluids.

Some of the participants told Channels Television that the training received would enable them educate their children on how to relate with other children and adults when they get back to their schools.

Nigeria’s school children ought to have resumed from their holidays in the first week of September, but as part of its efforts to contain the spread of the deadly Ebola virus, the Federal Government postponed the resumption of schools to September 22.

The Government expects that the Ebola virus would be completely contained before the new date of resumption.

Kaduna Govt. Releases N116m For Purchase Of Ebola Detecting Equipment

Ebola virusThe Kaduna State Government has released the sum of N116 million for the purchase of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) detecting equipment for the testing of returning students and pupils in private and public schools.

In a statement issued by the state Commissioner for Education, Ibrahim Ali, said that already 13,000 teachers have been trained on prevention of the Ebola virus disease ahead of the September 22, resumption date for primary and post primary schools, while 10,000 thermometers have been purchased for onward distribution to private and primary schools across the 23 Local Government Areas of the state.

Ali, who stressed the need for preventive measures against the spread of the disease, urged participants to ensure strict compliance amongst staff and students.

He said N41 million was earmarked for the training, refreshment and transportation of the teachers, while N75 million was for the purchase of thermometers.

The commissioner said the state government would provide more fund to the education sector, disclosing that the state emerged third nationwide in the 2014 WAEC results.

“We expect to double the money we spend on teachers’ professional development. The magic is for one to train and retrain teachers every year so that they can be up-to-date.

“No matter how you put the structures in the schools, if you don’t have the teaching materials, text books and embark on regular training for teachers, you are not going to record any success.

“So, we are giving priority to the training of teachers so that they can impact more on students’ performance.”


Britain To Send Military, Humanitarian Experts To Fight Ebola


Britain will send military and humanitarian experts to Sierra Leone to set up a medical treatment centre to care for victims of the Ebola outbreak there, the British High Commission said on its Twitter feed on Monday.

The epidemic in West Africa – the worst in the disease’s history – has killed some 2,100 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Nigeria and has also spread to Senegal.

The World Health Organization believes it will take six to nine months to contain.

It has called for support from all nations of the World in an effort to contain the spread of the disease and had authorised the use of untested drugs  in the treatment of patients.

A British health worker had contracted the disease last month in West Africa and was flown to the UK for treatment. He recovered and was discharged last week.


Nigerian Hospitalized In Israel Not Sick With Ebola

EbolaA Nigerian visitor who has been undergoing tests in an Israeli hospital after being admitted with a fever is not sick with Ebola, a hospital spokeswoman said on Saturday, a report on Reuters News Agency says.

The Nigerian, a health worker in her native country, was hospitalized and put in isolation after arriving in Israel several days ago.

Nigeria is one of five West African countries affected by the virus which has killed more than 2 100 people since March.

A spokeswoman for Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem said that after receiving her test results, the patient was being treated for a different illness.

“In coordination with the Health Ministry, the quarantine was lifted. There is no danger,” she said.

US Urges Nigeria To Assist Neighbouring Countries Contain Ebola Spread

EbolaThe US Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield, has called on Nigeria to assist other West African countries in the containment of the Ebola Virus Disease.

She made the appeal after meeting with the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, in Abuja on Thursday.

Mrs Thomas-Greenfield who is in Nigeria on official visit to attend a security Nigeria-US Bi-National Commission meeting to discuss issues on health and politics commended “the minister, his staff and the government of Nigeria on how they effectively deal with the Ebola outbreak here in Nigeria.

“They are taking all the right steps to stop this andthey are having great success here. I appeal to the Minister to assist neighbours in Liberia and Sierra-Leone as they also grapple with this terrible outbreak”, she said.

She further expressed concerns “over the spread of the Ebola disease in Liberia, Sierra-Leone and Guinea” adding that “efforts are being made proactively every single day with the support of our Centre for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organisation (WHO), and the health community around Africa and the world to support those efforts to control the outbreak in those three countries”, she said.

She also denied allegation that U.S was not ready to assist Nigeria, especially with the trial drugs.

“That is not correct; I think the Centre for Disease Control has proactively supported all the countries in the West African region in dealing with the situation. It is not about Zmapp. There were six doses of Zmapp available; they were all used.

“What is important is how to control the spread of the disease. And, that is exactly what is being done here in Nigeria; and efforts are being made to have the same kind of success in Liberia,” the American official stated.

Prof Chukwu on his part said Nigeria is her brother’s keeper, promising that “we are going to assist our sister nations”.

He also commended the efforts of the United States’ Centre for Disease Control in containing the spread of Ebola Virus Disease in Nigeria.

Ebola: US Asks Nigeria To Assist Other West African Countries

EbolaUnited States’ Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, has appealed to the Nigerian Government to assist other West African countries grappling with the containment of the dreaded Ebola Virus Disease in their country.

According to her, the Nigerian Government has better effective strategies for the containment and management of the virus than other West African countries like Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

She made her plea after meeting with Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, in Abuja on Thursday.

Thomas-Greenfield was on an official visit to Nigeria to attend a security meeting, as well as discuss issues on health and the 2015 general elections in Nigeria.

Port Harcourt Woman Died Of Cardiac Ailment Not Ebola – Commissioner

EbolaThe Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Samson Parker, has revealed that the elderly woman who passed on in the state, died of a cardiovascular ailment and not the Ebola virus as earlier suspected.

Dr. Parker made this disclosure on Thursday morning at a breifing with newsmen in Port Harcourt, the state capital.

The woman was said to have shared the same hospital room with the late Dr. Iyke Enemuo, who treated the Nigerian ECOWAS diplomat in Port Harcourt, prior to his (Enemuo) death from EVD.

The late woman was quarantined with a doctor and a pharmacist, who were staff of late Enemuo’s health facility, Sam Steel Clinic.

However, following several tests, it was discovered that they were free from Ebola and were given a clean bill of health, although they were still under medical surveillance.

Thursday’s disclosure by the Health Commissioner puts to rest what was feared to be the seventh Ebola fatality to be recorded in the country.

8th Ebola Survivor Released In Nigeria

Onyebuchi Chukwu on Ebola Virus.The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, on Wednesday confirmed the release of the 8th Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) survivor in Nigeria, adding that 18 cases have been recorded so far.

The Minister, briefing journalists after the Federal Executive Council meeting, said, “The total number of confirmed cases of Ebola Virus Disease in Nigeria is now 18.

“The 18th confirmed case is the sister of the late Port Harcourt doctor,” he said, adding that “the total number of cases successfully managed and discharged is now eight.”

Prof Chukwu also stated that the last case to be discharged, the first secondary contact to be diagnosed and a spouse of a primary contact of the index case, went home from the isolation ward in Lagos on Tuesday, confirming the 9th survivor as “the ECOWAS Commission official who jumped surveillance in Lagos and travelled to Port Harcourt”.

The Minister also confirmed that the total number of deaths from Ebola Virus Disease in Nigeria was seven.

“One, the index case, occurred in a private hospital in Lagos, four in the Lagos isolation ward, one in the Port Harcourt isolation ward (the female patient who was on admission in the same hospital where the late Port Harcourt doctor was also admitted), while another one (1) was the doctor who was infected by the ECOWAS Commission official in Port Harcourt and who did not come under the care and management of the Incident Management Committee”, he said.

He added that two EVD patients were currently under treatment in the Lagos and Port Harcourt isolation wards.

“Total number of contacts currently under surveillance in Lagos is 41, while Port Harcourt has 255.

“Total number of contacts discharged in Lagos after they were observed for 21 days is 320”, he said.

The Minister also debunked rumours of EVD cases outside Lagos and Port Harcourt and debunked rumours that the body of the late Port Harcourt doctor was transported to Edo or Delta State, insisting that the body has been decontaminated and would be interred in Port Harcourt.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has partnered with the Rivers State Government to contain the spread of EVD in the state.

In a briefing with journalists at the Rivers State Ministry of Health in Port Harcourt, the WHO Country Representative, Mr Rui Vaz, said that WHO was bringing to bear in the fight against the disease, the expert training, assistance and logistical support to achieve containment and to ensure control in the Port Harcourt entry into the state.



Ebola: Health Workers Seek Better Welfare


Health workers in Nigeria are seeking protection and better incentives for their colleagues giving treatment for patients with Ebola Virus Disease.

According to the President of the Health Workers Union, Mr Ayuba Wabba, healthcare providers have been worse affected by the outbreak of the disease in West Africa.

The union called for the recruitment of more health workers and better legislature that would guarantee the welfare of the care givers in the front-line of fighting the Ebola scourge.

Mr Wabba was speaking at a forum organised by the National Union of Medical and Health Worker in Nigeria to provide training on how to manage Ebola cases without being infected with the virus.

Apart from the workshop, health workers also believe there is a need for insurance and better legislature.

The National Council on Health had, on Monday, passed a resolution to press for life insurance coverage for health workers handling Ebola cases across the country.

While all health workers are at the risk of contracting the virus, experts believe that those working in laboratories, nurses, laundry and clinical services are at greater risk.

The National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives have also threatened industrial action because of discrimination and poor welfare.

Statistics reveals that since the recent outbreak, over 240 health workers have contracted the virus in West Africa. In Nigeria, out of the six deaths recorded, three were health care workers.

Jonathan Should Promote A Rights-Based Approach To Healthcare To Control Ebola—SERAP

EbolaSocio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to “promote a rights-based approach to healthcare for millions of disadvantaged Nigerians to control and combat the Ebola Virus disease.”

In a statement today signed by SERAP Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, the organization said that, “We note that the government’s reaction so far has contributed to curtailing the spread of the disease. But the inadequacy of a reactive approach to the problem is illustrated by the low survival rates of victims here in the country when compared to those in countries with developed and functioning healthcare systems.”

The organization said that, “the unfortunate reality is that the full enjoyment of the right to health still remains a distant goal for millions of Nigerians especially those who continue to live in poverty as a result of years of mismanagement and high level official corruption.”

“This problem is further exacerbated by the absence of functioning public health and health-care facilities, grossly insufficient resources and official corruption. The result is that payment for basic healthcare remains beyond the reach of majority of Nigerians,” the organization said.

According to the organization, “The Ebola outbreak provides an opportunity for the government to formulate a coherent health policy that is based on human rights principles. And President Jonathan needs to urgently provide the leadership to make this happen. As a starting point, the President should now publicly support the inclusion of a legally enforceable right to healthcare in the constitution.”

The organization also said that, “A long term and preventive approach that conceives health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity is urgently needed. Any such policy must adopt a holistic approach to the right to health by promoting the effective enjoyment of associated rights such as the rights to food, housing, work, education, human dignity, life, non-discrimination, and equality.”

“One of the things this government can immediately begin to do to prevent the spread of Ebola is to commit adequate resources to provide and promote an environment across the country where people can lead a healthy life, in particular by ensuring access to safe and potable water and adequate sanitation, safe and healthy working conditions, and a healthy environment,” the organization also said.

The organization also said that, “The government must ensure the participation of the population in all health‑related decision-making across the country. Investments should not disproportionately favour expensive curative health services which are often accessible only to a small, privileged fraction of the population, rather than primary and preventive health care benefiting a far larger part of the population.”

“There is absolutely no justification why Nigerians especially the most vulnerable sectors of the population should not enjoy a right to health that would assure to them medical service and medical attention in the event of sickness, including the provision of equal and timely access to basic preventive, curative, rehabilitative health services and health education; regular screening programmes; appropriate treatment of prevalent diseases such as Ebola, and the provision of essential drugs and care,” the organization added.

The organization said that, “Health is a fundamental human right indispensable for the exercise of other human rights. Every human being is entitled to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health conducive to living a life in dignity. As the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms: ‘Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services’”

“The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights provides the most comprehensive article on the right to health in international human rights law. In accordance with article 12.1 of the Covenant, States parties recognize “the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health,” the organization added.

Health Workers Strike At Major Ebola Clinic In Sierra Leone

Ebola-QuarantinedHealth workers have gone on strike at a major state-run Ebola treatment centre in Sierra Leone, hospital staff told Reuters on Saturday, a further blow to efforts to contain the deadly virus.

Faced with the worst Ebola outbreak in history, West African governments have struggled to find an effective response. More than 1,550 people have died from the hemorrhagic fever since it was first detected in the forests of Guinea in March.

Transmitted through the blood, sweat and vomit of the sick, Ebola has spread quickly among health care workers who often lack the equipment to protect themselves from the virus.

Ishmael Mehemoh, chief supervisor at the Kenema clinic in eastern Sierra Leone, said the facility has only one stretcher. He said the stretcher, which is broken, is used to carry both patients and corpses, raising the risk of infection.

In a further sign of strained resources, nurses and members of the burial team at Kenema said the government had stopped paying their wages of $50 a week.

There is only one other Ebola treatment centre in Sierra Leone in Kailahun, and the World Health Organization shut the laboratory there this week and withdrew staff after one of its health workers caught the virus there.

So far more than 120 health workers have died from the virus across the region. In Kenema alone, 26 staff members have already died from Ebola following the death of physician Dr. Sahr Rogers.

“It is with a deep sense of sadness that we have lost one of our finest physicians in the line of duty at a time like when we need a lot of them to help in out fight against Ebola,” said Sierra Leone’s new health minister Abubakarr Fofana on Saturday.

His predecessor Miatta Kargbo was sacked the previous day over her handling of the Ebola outbreak.


In neighbouring Liberia, where infection rates are highest, crowds sang and danced in the streets of a seaside neighbourhood on Saturday as the government lifted quarantine measures.

In mid-August, residents of the impoverished seaside district of West Point in Monrovia were forcibly cut off from the rest of the capital after a crowd attacked an Ebola centre there, allowing the sick to flee.

The quarantine sparked protests and security forces responded with tear gas and bullets, killing a teenaged boy.

But at dawn on Saturday, the community woke up to find the soldiers and barricades gone.

“I tell God thank you. I tell everyone thank you,” said Koffa, a female resident of West Point. Others danced in the streets chanting slogans like “we are free” while others rolled about on the asphalt pavement in celebration.

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, a U.S.-educated Nobel Peace Prize winner, has sought to quell criticism of the government’s response by issuing orders threatening officials with dismissal for failing to report for work or for fleeing the country, and has ordered an investigation into the West Point shooting.

Liberia plans to build five new Ebola treatment centres each with capacity for 100 beds, government and health officials said on Saturday.

Two African doctors infected with Ebola were released from hospital in Monrovia on Saturday after being treated with the experimental drug ZMapp, said Rev. John Sumo of the Liberian health ministry.

A third doctor who was given the treatment died this week.


Highly contagious, Ebola has also spread to Nigeria and Senegal, which reported its first confirmed case on Friday, a Guinean student who was lost to authorities in his own country while under surveillance.

“His brother came from Sierra Leone where he was infected and has died. Shortly afterwards, this student left for Senegal,” said Dr. Rafi Diallo, spokesman for the Guinean health ministry.

The student’s sister and mother have died from Ebola, Guinean health ministry sources said.

A resident in the suburb of the Senegalese capital Dakar, where the student resided, said on Saturday that a team of health ministry officials wearing white protective suits and masks came to spray disinfectant at his home and a local grocer’s shop.

Many Dakar residents worry that the student could have spread the highly contagious virus in the three weeks since he was last reported in Guinea.

In Nigeria, where an infected traveller collapsed after arriving the Lagos airport, there have so far been 19 suspected, probable and confirmed cases and seven deaths.

“To avoid a situation like Nigeria, they need to be able to follow hundreds of contacts,” said epidemiologist Jorge Castilla-Echenique of the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department in Dakar. “Whatever they do, there will probably be a second set of sick people as this guy has been here for some time.”

Senegal has closed its land border with Guinea and halted flights to Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, defying advice from the World Health Organization (WHO) that there is no need for travel restrictions.

A note from the WHO and the International Civil Aviation Organization sent to health ministries on Aug. 29 said: “Lives are being unnecessarily lost because health care workers cannot travel to the affected countries, and delivery of life saving equipment and supplies is being delayed.”

The World Food Programme said it needs to raise $70 million to feed 1.3 million people at risk from shortages in the Ebola-quarantined areas in West Africa, with the agency’s resources already stretched by several major humanitarian crises.

Democratic Republic of Congo declared an Ebola outbreak in its northern Equateur province last week that has killed at least 13 people. But the outbreak, which occurred near the Ebola River region where the virus was first detected in 1976, appears to be unrelated to the West Africa outbreak.

WFP Says It Needs $70m To Feed 1.3m People In Ebola Quarantine

EbolaThe World Food Programme says that it needs to raise $70 million to feed 1.3 million people at risk from shortages in Ebola-quarantined areas in West Africa.

WFP’s West Africa Director, Denise Brown, said that the organisation was currently providing food for around 150,000 people in Ebola-striken nations but needs to rapidly scale that up as the worst ever epidemic of the virus advanced.

Mrs Brown added that the WFP would look from donations from major donors like the United States, the European Union, the World Bank and Japan, as well as from non-traditional benefactors such as Arab states.

She, however, warned that the agency’s resources were already thinly stretched by major humanitarian crises in Syria, Iraq, South Sudan and Central African Republic.