Ebola: Medical Association Advocates Massive Campaign At Rural Communities

Ebola virus diseaseThe Nigerian Medical Association, (NMA) has advised both the Federal and State Governments to focus more of their enlightenment campaign on the Ebola Virus disease on rural communities rather than concentrating on the urban areas.

The Kaduna State branch of the association, which has been on strike since July 1, said that the advice had become imperative giving the fact that “majority of the rural dwellers eat more bush meat than their urban counterparts” and on the fact that they were also not aware of the risks the disease posed.

At a press briefing in Kaduna on Saturday, the State NMA Chairman, Dr. Mohammed Ibrahim, debunked rumours of an outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease in the state since Thursday.

Dr. Ibrahim expressed dissatisfaction with the Federal Government’s insurance cover for health workers who are attending to victims of Ebola and the level of preparedness shown so far by both the Federal and the 36 States Governments.

He, however, advised the residents to always confirm any issue relating to the Ebola case from health personnel instead of relying on rumour while at the same time urging them to adopt measures of protecting themselves from contracting the virus.

Mr Ibrahim reiterated the willingness of his members to attend to any case of Ebola outbreak or any other emergency situation in the state despite the ongoing strike by medical doctors across the country.

On July 1, the leadership of the association asked all members to down tools, after the Federal Government failed to address their 24-point demand.

The association is, among other things, demanding the stoppage of the appointment of non-doctors as directors and consultants.

They are also demanding the immediate passage of the National Health Bill, appointment of a Surgeon-General of the Federation, the payment of 100,000 Naira hazard allowance for medical doctors and the skipping of level 12 by medical and dental practitioners.

The association had in June addressed a news conference at the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, where it advised the Federal Government to urgently address its demands or be prepared for the indefinite strike with effect from July 1.

President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday declared a national emergency on Ebola, stressing the need for all Nigerians to support the government’s efforts to check the spread of the virus.

In a statement by the spokesman for the President, Ruben Abati, President Jonathan urged medical workers and other health professionals to regard the declaration of the National Emergency as a patriotic call to duty and service.

Jonathan Declares National Emergency On Ebola

ebola-doctorsPresident Goodluck Jonathan has declared the control and containment of the Ebola virus in Nigeria, a National Emergency, a spokesman for the President, Reuben Abati, said on Friday.

In a statement by the spokesman, President Jonathan directed the Federal Ministry of Health to work in collaboration with the State Ministries of Health, the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and other relevant agencies to ensure that all possible steps were taken to effectively contain the threat of the Ebola Virus in line with international protocols and best practices.

President Jonathan also approved a Special Intervention Plan and the immediate release of 1.9 billion Naira for its implementation, to further strengthen on-going steps to contain the virus.

The fund would be used for the establishment of additional isolation centres, case management, contact tracing, deployment of additional personnel, screening at borders and the procurement of required items and facilities.

The President commended the vigilance of aviation and health authorities in Lagos who identified and isolated the index case in Nigeria, the late Patrick Sawyer, an American-Liberian who flew into the country.

He also applauded the good work of health authorities at both State and Federal levels who had traced persons who had contact with him, isolated other identified cases and embarked on massive public enlightenment.

President Jonathan called for even greater vigilance and co-operation at all levels to stop the Ebola Virus from spreading further.

The effective implementation of the Federal Government’s Special Intervention Plan will require other stakeholders to take certain precautionary steps that are supportive of the government’s initiative.

Patriotic Call To Duty

The President also advised Nigerians to follow all directives by health authorities and report any suspected Ebola case to the nearest health facility for immediate medical attention.

He also enjoined the public to desist from spreading false information about Ebola which can lead to mass hysteria, panic and misdirection, including unverified suggestions about the prevention, treatment, cure and spread of the virus.

“The movement of corpses from one community to the other and from overseas into the country should be stopped forthwith. Every death should be reported to the relevant authorities, and special precautions should be taken in handling corpses.

“Religious and political groups, spiritual healing centres, families, associations and other bodies should, in the meantime, discourage gatherings and activities that may unwittingly promote close contact with infected persons or place others at risk.

“Public enlightenment agencies, including privately-owned media organs should support government’s efforts and disseminate correct information in all Nigerian languages, about preventive personal hygiene measures, the nature of the Ebola virus, modes of transmission and consequential steps that should be taken in the event of infection,” the President emphasised.

President Jonathan also appealed to State governments and private day care, nursery, primary and secondary schools owners to consider the option of extending the current school holiday until a national reassessment of the level of the Ebola threat is conducted.

To increase the awareness, the National Emergency Management Agency and similar agencies at the state level are to strengthen their public enlightenment campaigns and use their networks to distribute hand sanitisers and other protective items nationwide.

Aviation and health authorities are to embark on immediate intensification of the screening of travellers at all the nation’s borders.

The President reassured everyone that the Government of Nigeria would continue to take every step, deploy all resources, and mobilise every support and assistance to check the spread of Ebola in the country.

While the government is trying to contain the spread of the disease, there is a shortfall of health workers, as the National Medical Association has been on strike for over a month.

President Jonathan, however, urged medical workers and other health professionals to regard the declaration of the National Emergency as a patriotic call to duty and service.

The Nigerian government had earlier requested for the unapproved drug for the treatment of Ebola from the United States.

Two deaths have been recorded so far in Nigeria as a result of the Ebola Virus, with two more cases reported on Friday.

FG Says Two More Nigerians Have Been Confirmed With Ebola Virus Disease

Ebola virus diseaseThe Federal Government has announced that two more Nigerians have been confirmed to have contracted the Ebola virus disease.

So far, three Nigerians have contracted the Ebola virus disease, and health experts say case fatality for Nigeria is 28.6%.

A total of 139 contacts have been put on surveillance.



Doctor Who Contracted Ebola Disease Not Dead-LASG

Jide-Idris-commissioner-for-healthLagos State Government on Tuesday affirmed that the female medical doctor who tested positive to the Ebola Virus after treating a Liberian diplomat that died of the disease after arriving in Nigeria is still alive.

Addressing newsmen at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, Alausa, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, noted that the female medical doctor who attended to the case of Ebola Virus Disease at a private hospital in Lagos is the only confirmed case to date out of the eight primary contact under clinical surveillance and care.

“Her being infected is largely due to the fact that she was a primary contact when the index case presented. At that point in time, the disease was not known to have been imported into the country”, Idris explained.

He stressed that the essence of the briefing is to highlight the mode of transmission of Ebola Virus Disease stressing that the disease is transmissible through direct contact with broken skin, mucous membranes and secretions of an infected person or through direct contact with materials and surfaces that have been contaminated by an infected person.

“This is a call for vigilance as human to human transmission is only achieved by physical contact with a person who is acutely and gravely ill from Ebola virus through body fluids such as blood, urine, stool, saliva, breast milk and semen. Burial ceremonies where mourners including family members have direct contact with patients who died of Ebola have also played a role in the spread of the disease”, Idris said.

The Commissioner noted that in Africa, infection has also occurred through the handling of infected chimpanzees, monkeys, gorillas, fruit bats, antelopes and porcupines adding that there has been no case of transmission by domestic animals like pigs.

He urged everyone to be vigilant especially with regard to relating with people who are ill, stressing that there is no cause to panic as long as basic precautionary measures such as hand washing, adoption of appropriate waste management and enhanced personal and environmental hygiene are adhered to.

Idris opined that precautionary measures such as hand washing, adoption of appropriate waste management and enhanced personal and environmental hygiene is relevant especially when large congregations are expected with a mix of people from other part of the world and commended the responsiveness and cooperation received from the Redeemed Christian Church of God in this regard during the church’s on-going Convention.

While appreciating various health workers who have selflessly committed to this cause of preventing the spread of the virus in the areas of contact tracing, case management and decontamination, the Commissioner appealed to other health workers like doctors, nurses, environmental health workers and phlebotomists to come on board and complement the state health workforce.

He also appealed to striking doctors to return to work and urged other health workers to sheath their swords and embrace team work in the drive to stem the spread of the disease in the state.

“We also count on the cooperation of the good people of Lagos State as your government, in partnership with the Federal government may need in the course of taking decisions in the overriding interest of the public, institute measures that may be considered inconvenient to some people”, Idris said.

He explained that relevant digital platforms have been set up for ease of reference, information and communication flow and that the platforms include Help line: 0800 EBOLA HELP (0800326524357); Website: www.ebolaalert.org; Facebook: fb.com/ebolaalert; and Twitter: @ebolaalert.

Also present at the briefing were the Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr Wale Ahmed and his Information and Strategy counterpart, Mr Lateef Ibirogba.

Ebola Movement Restriction, A constitutional Issue

Ebola_VictimThe Ebola Virus Disease has been in Nigeria for over four weeks and the Federal Government and health officials have been working hard to ensure it does not become an epidemic, all this happening in a period that medical doctors in Nigeria are on strike.

On Friday, August 22, the Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, announced two fresh cases of the Ebola virus bringing the known cases up to 14 with five deaths, five in recovery, four in isolation and over 200 under surveillance.

Last week, a woman under surveillance travelled to the eastern part of Nigeria causing panic on a possible inter-state spread and also bringing to question the efforts of government to efficiently manage the surveillance cases and contain the spread of the disease in Nigeria.

As much as the government is trying to contain the spread of the virus, depriving Nigerians movement from one part of the country to another and other border controls are issues that may be considered unconstitutional, as it is against a citizen’s right of movement.

Channels Television had a chat with a lawmaker on the constitutional implications of these restrictions on health grounds and the issues surrounding Ebola and health in Nigeria.