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Lagos govt warns churches, mosques over Ebola 'As virus claims first Nigerian victim 'S/West govs in crucial meeting

Published by Tribune on Thu, 07 Aug 2014

LAGOS State government has advised churches, mosques and other religious organisations to suspend all activities that involve large gatherings of people, until the Ebola outbreak is brought under control.Speaking to journalists at the daily briefing on the Ebola outbreak at the State Secetariat, Alausa, Ikeja, the state Commissioner for Health, Jide Idris, said the move would help prevent the spread of the disease that had, so far, killed two people in the country.Describing the situation as dire, Idris asked health workers to come out and volunteer to help treat those already admitted.Idris also advised family members to be mindful of burial rites, where family members had direct contact with suspects who died from the virus.'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 virus.'Direct contact with dead bodies should be minimised at this period, even as washing and burial or disposal of such bodies should be professionally handled,' he added.Meanwhile, Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, has described the Ebola outbreak as 'a natural emergency,' saying 'everyone in the world today is at risk.'The minister stated this when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Health, led by Honourable Ndudi Elumelu.He said the government would ensure necessary things were done to curb the spread of the disease in the country.S/West govs in crucial meeting over EbolaGOVERNORS in South-West states, on Wednesday, met in Lagos, to hold an emergency meeting over concerted efforts to be deployed in containing the Ebola virus disease in the states.This came as the Lagos State government confirmed the death of one of the nurses who had first degree contact with the dead Liberian, Patrick Sawyer, who died of Ebola virus disease in Lagos.Speaking through the Lagos State governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, at the Government House, Alausa, Lagos, the governors told newsmen that cross-border movements were major constraints in combating Ebola, while appealing to the Federal Government to deploy manpower and resources to curtail the spread.Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun lamented that despite 58 Hilux vans patrolling the over 70 illegal borders between Lagos and Ogun, there was still the need for the Federal Government to assist with more vehicles and security forces.Also, the Ondo State governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, called on all Nigerians to be stakeholders in the quest to combat Ebola, by being conscious of their personal hygiene.Speaking on the case of the latest Ebola victim, the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, at a press briefing with newsmen at Alausa, on Wednesday, said the nurse (names withheld) reportedly died on Tuesday at 2.06 p.m.The development made the number of deaths recorded in Nigeria as a result the Ebola virus disease two.According to Idris, of the six persons whose samples were taken for a laboratory test, four had tested positive to the virus, one came out negative and the last was still inconclusive.Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, in another press briefing in Abuja, also confirmed the development, saying that Nigeria has now recorded seven confirmed cases of the Ebola virus disease, with the first case being that of Sawyer.'The other five cases are currently being treated at the isolation ward in Lagos,' he said.According to Idris, of the total 70 people being monitored, based on contact tracing from the index case that came into the country from Liberia, eight was admitted with their blood samples taken.He added, however, that secondary contact tracing of all the admitted had commenced, noting that 27 of them had been reached, while efforts were on to trace others.The commissioner also said more volunteers were needed, especially contact trackers; case management personnel, especially those with experience in but not restricted to infectious disease control.He allayed the fears of health workers who had the required expertise, as, according to him, the government was willing to take care of such volunteers in terms of safety to personal health, life insurance cover and whatever genuine assurance they might require.'The bottom line is that we cannot provide the requisite quality and quantity of health workers needed for the management of these cases. Outsiders would find it difficult to come in and help as is the case in scarce human resource in health settings,' he said.Idris also appealed to businessmen and women who sold materials and equipment needed in the management of the virus not to cash in on the unfortunate situation by unduly increasing the prices of their commodities.Professor Chukwu also revealed that emergency operations centre would be set up and fully functional by today and would, according to him, be headed by Dr Faisal Shuaibu as the incident manager.'He (Dr Shuaibu) will later today (Wednesday) lead a six-man inter agaency team drawn from the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), the United States Centre for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to Lagos to complete the setting up of the centre,' the minister said.'Within the week, the Minister of Information and I would be visiting Lagos State to assess the situation on ground. I wish to, once again, reassure Nigerians that the government is working hard to ensure the containment of the outbreak,' he added.Jang-led NGF summons stakeholders' meetingTHE Nigeria Governors' Forum (NGF) secretariat under the leadership of Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State, in collaboration with the Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, is to hold a one-day sensitisation meeting on Ebola virus with all the commissioners of health in the federation.According to a statement issued by the secretary of the forum, Earl Osaro Onaiwu, in Abuja, on Wednesday, the purpose of the meeting was to discuss efforts and review the progress made in the measures to tackle the spread of the dreaded disease in the country.The statement further said the meeting would also equip commissioners of health with adequate information on measures to adopt to curb the virus in their respective states.According to the statement, all the 36 state commissioners of health are expected to attend the meeting on August 11.
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