Minister Tells FEC ‘Nigeria Will Be Free From Ebola Soon’

Ebola Health Workers.The Federal Executive Council was on Wednesday told that Nigeria will soon be free from the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) scourge.

The Minister of Health Dr Onyebuchi Chukwu, who gave the council an update on the containment of the disease, said that Nigeria was having a final turnaround on Ebola, as no Nigeria was suffering from the disease.

Reeling out the statistics, Dr Chukwu said that only 19 cases was recorded so far since the the beak out of the virus and that there was no fresh case of EVD.

According to him, the total number of cases so far treated and discharged stands at 10, the last two cases being the sister of the Port Harcourt doctor who died. Seven deaths were recorded. .

The wife of the doctor has also been discharged, leaving the Lagos isolation ward empty.

The Minister told Nigerians to desist from rumour, but report any suspected case to the appropriate quarters.

On the controversy over the resumption of schools, the Minister said that it was irrational to shut down schools for so long, as there was no community outbreak of the disease.

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

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

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

Senegal on Friday became the fifth country to confirm it had been touched by the outbreak that has infected more than 3,000 people – killing some 1,550 – since it was detected in March. The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday the outbreak could infect a total of 20,000 people before it ends.

Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have pledged to impose a ‘cordon sanitaire’ on the most affected communities in their joint border region, restricting travel to and from the areas and limiting their access to food supplies.

“We need $70 million. That’s for 1.3 million people for three months,” Brown told Reuters late on Friday. “We’ve agreed this morning…that we need to extend that because WHO is already talking about 6-9 months before this is contained.”

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

“I don’t think the world has ever seen so many concurrent crisis on such a huge scale. The humanitarian community is stretched beyond belief,” she said.

Brown said WFP started food distribution in Guinea around 4 months ago, and more recently in Liberia and Sierra Leone, mostly delivering food to isolation wards in hospitals before gradually increasing the scope of the mission.

Travel restrictions imposed by neighbouring African countries, notably Senegal – a regional hub for the humanitarian sector – had made it more difficult to get staff and supplies into the affected region, Brown said.

The operation was also made more challenging by precautions to stop the disease spreading and staff becoming infected.

“We don’t want to go in and do a distribution for 10,000 people. We want small groups of people, which is going to be very hard for us to manage,” Brown said. “Yes, it probably makes us a bit slower but we need to get this right.”

The area of Liberia hardest-hit around the northern Lofa county include some of its main food producing regions and the quarantine imposed on this area has raised fears that supplies to the rest of the country will be restricted.

Brown said that prices for rice and cassava at one of the main markets in the capital Monrovia had already risen by around 30 percent and there were reports that farmers had not been able to plant their crops because of contagion fears, suggesting shortages were likely to worsen.

Ebola Deaths In West Africa Reaches 1,427 – WHO

Ebola DeathsThe World Health Organisation (WHO) has said on Friday, that the Ebola epidemic in West Africa has led to 1,427 deaths out of 2,615 known cases.

In its latest update, the WHO reported 142 new laboratory-confirmed, probable or suspected cases and 77 more Ebola deaths from four affected countries – Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.

Earlier, the WHO said that the scale of the world’s worst Ebola outbreak had been concealed by families hiding infected loved ones in their homes and the existence of “shadow zones” that medics cannot enter.

It is due to issue a global strategy plan towards the end of next week in Geneva.

Ebola: Catholic Diocese Bars Corpses In Churches

ebola_virusThe Catholic Diocese of Makurdi, in Benue State, has barred members from taking corpses of late relations to churches for funeral Mass.

As a measure to check the spread of Ebola virus.

The diocese directed that corpses of deceased members should be given immediate burial.

It, however, said that it would allow corpses to be brought to the churches in the area only when death certificates issued by relevant medical authorities were produced.

This is contained in a statement by the Director of Communications in the Diocese, Reverend Father Moses Iorapuu, in Makurdi on Saturday.

The statement, which was issued on behalf of the Bishop of the Diocese, Very Reverend Athanissius Usu, also announced changes in two aspects of activities during mass, including the mode of administering the Holy Communion.

According to the statement, parishioners will henceforth be served the Eucharistic feast on their hands as against the practice of putting it on their tongue by the priest.

Also, it said, the exchange of the sign of peace, involving handshakes has been replaced with other suitable gestures to avoid the possibilities of contracting the Ebola virus.

The Diocese advised priests, who conduct pastoral visitation to hospitals to be cautious and seek doctor’s permission before touching sick people with undisclosed illnesses.

It also announced the prohibition of group prayer sessions that involved touching and praying over unknown sicknesses.

According to the statement, the measures, which are in accordance with the Federal Government’s directive on ways to prevent the spread of Ebola virus, are aimed at safeguarding the health of members.

” We hope that with these preventive pastoral and standard procedures and with prayers and steadfastness in responsible behaviours, the Lord will keep this virus away from us.

“We also encourage personal hygiene, washing of hands regularly, clean environment and eating habits.

“We urge you not to ignore government’s advice and other official statements on how to prevent the outbreak of Ebola virus,”  the statement further read.