Wednesday, August 27, 2014 3:05 pm
Same day, same government, contradictory signals.
On Tuesday, Nigeria’s Health minister, Onyebuchi Chukwu announced to the world that Nigeria had almost overcome the #Ebolavirus menace, with only one patient, that is showing vast improvement, remaining in the isolation ward in Lagos.
On the same day, Minister of education, Ibrahim Shekarau, obviously without consulting his health ministry counterpart, spoiled the nation’s euphoric mood over Ebola conquest by announcing a policy dampener: resumption of classes, he said, in all public and private schools will be delayed by a month to put in place “preventive measures” against the Ebola virus.
“All primary and secondary schools in private and public sectors are to remain closed until Monday, October 13,” Shekarau said while addressing a meeting of senior teachers in the country.
“This is to ensure that adequate preventive measures are put in place before students resume,” he said.
Students across the country had been scheduled to resume classes on September 15.
Was Shekarau right in postponing the school resumption?
Earlier Tuesday, the federal health ministry said that two more people had been released from isolation after recovering from Ebola, leaving only one living patient with the disease in the country.
The ministry said Nigeria has recorded 13 confirmed cases of Ebola, including the Liberian-American Patrick Sawyer, who brought the virus to the economic capital Lagos on July 20 and died five days later. Five deaths were recorded so far.
Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu announced that the total number discharged is now seven.
“Two of the treated patients, a male doctor and a female nurse were discharged yesterday evening, 25th August, 2014, having satisfied the criteria for discharge,” he told reporters in Abuja.
The only patient in the country who currently has Ebola is the wife of a doctor who treated Sawyer, he added.
“She is stable but still on treatment at the isolation ward in Lagos,” Chukwu said.
The World Health Organization said last week that it was encouraged by the situation in Nigeria, given that all of the confirmed cases came from a single chain of transmission.
The deadliest-ever outbreak of the virus has killed more than 1,400 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since the start of the year.
Must Shekarau’s pronouncement be allowed to stand?