Nigeria should not be complacent with its Ebola free status. This is the consensus coming out of the first day of a 3-day meeting of a group of Nigerian doctors in the Americas.
Participants which include former Nigerian Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, Commissioners of Health and medical officials from the First Consultant Hospital, Lagos Island, outlined strategies that can prepare the country for future epidemics.
The current state of the Ebola outbreak in a few West African countries and lessons learnt from the importation of the disease into Nigeria shaped the opening conversations of the 3-day conference which has other physicians from Nigeria in attendance.
Nigeria, sadly with casualties but thankfully also survivors, contained the 2014 Ebola infection to earn her current W.H.O Ebola free status.
The experts have, however, warned that a reappearance of the disease in Liberia, which was equally certified free of the virus, should send a strong signal of a possible re-importation.
The Association of Nigerian Physicians in the Americas (ANPA) has been doing this for 21 years, bringing onto the discussion table, burning issues in Africa and particularly in the Nigerian health sector.
Discussions on healthcare delivery during conflicts, disasters and epidemics continue on Friday with a focus on managing victims of terrorist attacks.
The 2015 Conference of the Association of Nigerian Physicians in the Americas is being held in Orlando, Florida in the United States.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, on Thursday said the N200 million donated to Lagos State by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) will not be withdrawn from the N1.9 billion Ebola Intervention Fund.
The Minister, in a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Media and Communication, Dan Nwomeh, said the “ The N200 million is a distinct and direct Federal Government support to Lagos State and does not preclude other assistance that may be rendered to the State through the Federal Ministry of Health”.
The Minister also listed corporate organizations that have made contributions to the Federal Government’s control measures against Ebola Virus Disease in Nigeria
*Aliko Dangote Foundation donated N152 million to sponsor the Ebola Emergency Operation Centre in Lagos.
*The ANAP Foundation founded by Mr. Atedo Peterside informed the Minister of Health that the foundation would be supporting affected private hospitals to the tune of N100,000 (one hundred thousand naira) per bed space. He also disclosed to the Minister that the First Consultant Hospital in Lagos where the index case was managed would be the first beneficiary and that the hospital would receive N4 million since its bed capacity is forty.
*The Tony Elumelu Foundation has pledged a donation of N50 million to support the Federal Government’s containment efforts.
*Shell Petroleum Limited donated an ambulance to the Ebola Emergency Operation Centre in Lagos.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved the sum of 200 million Naira to support the Lagos State government in tackling the Ebola Virus Disease that has killed at least 1,200 persons since its outbreak in the West African region early this year, while President Goodluck Jonathan declared the control and containment of the Ebola virus in Nigeria, a National Emergency and set up an intervention plan with N1.9 billion approved for the control of the disease.