Friday, August 8, 2014 7:52 pm
President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan Friday in Abuja declared the control and containment of the Ebola virus in Nigeria, a National Emergency, on a day that the governor of Lagos State where the first Ebola incident was recorded, visited the isolation ward for victims at the Mainland Hospital. It also coincided with the closure of a clinic in Victoria Island, Lagos, being operated by the state-owned oil corporation, the NNPC, after it was found that an Ebola suspect was receiving treatment there.
President Jonathan’s emergency declaration was in line with the directive by the World Health Organisation, WHO, which has asked nations hit by the virus to declare national emergencies. On its part, WHO has declared the virus outbreak a global emergency, with close to 100o deaths recorded in West Africa and Saudi Arabia, and with the infections spreading to Benin Republic.
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 are 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 N1. 9 billion, about $12 million, for its implementation, to further strengthen on-going steps to contain the virus such as 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 commends 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 applauds the good work of health authorities at both State and Federal levels who have 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.
As 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, the President called on members of the public 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.
Eralier today, Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) visited the Isolation Ward prepared by the State Government for patients with symptoms of the Ebola Virus Disease, saying the facility is now set up and ready to use.
The Governor who spoke in an interview with newsmen after inspecting some of the facilities at the Ward alongside the Commissioners for Health, Dr Jide Idris, Special Duties, Dr Wale Ahmed and Special Adviser on Public Health, Dr Yewande Adeshina added that he was also there to see the environment in which the health workers handling the situation were working and the level of preparation that they have and their level of protection.
According to the Governor, part of what informed his visiting the centre was because the State has a health challenge on her hands and the administration was concerned about the people in terms of their wellbeing and for the people who have taken leadership to help in containing it.
The Governor who interacted with some of the health workers met on ground expressed appreciation for the work they are doing.