Though there is no suspected or confirmed cases of Ebola virus in Nigeria, the Lagos State government has intensified its awareness campaign to forestall the outbreak of Ebola disease in the nation’s commercial nerve centre.
Commissioner of Health Dr Jide Idris told reporters that Lagos and Federal Government were taking measures to prevent the entry and spread of the virus in the country, adding that it was important people were informed in order to protect lives.
“Factsheets of Ebola for health workers have been sent to various hospitals, the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), all the general hospitals, primary healthcare board, the Health Service Commission, and chairmen of association of general and private medical practitioners, Association of Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria, Nursing and Midwifery Association of Nigeria; and very soon they will also be sent to the morgue operators. The state and the local governments’ Disease Surveillance and Notification Officers (DSNOs) have been sensitised on Ebola and other viral haemorrhagic fevers, especially on the prompt reporting of any detected or suspected cases of Ebola by the ministry in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO),” he said.
He said his ministry collaborated with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and the West African Health Organisation in March on a yellow fever outbreak simulation exercise. The essence, he said, was to strengthen the preparedness of response of all levels of health workers to yellow fever emergencies which have similar principles for the control of Ebola.
“We are also actively collaborating with the Port Health Services and the Federal Ministry of Health, which has commenced regional screening of passengers from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the neighbouring countries for any suspected cases of Ebola virus or other viral haemorrhagic fevers. Embargo has also been placed on the transportation of corpse from the DRC.
“Our isolation centre at the Mainland Hospital, Yaba has also been reactivated for treatment of any suspected cases. And we have propositioned personal protective equipment and other facilities and other facilities in our public health facilities just as a measure of preparedness,” Idris said.
He appealed to Lagosians to reduce the risk of infection by observing the basic standards of personal and environmental hygiene, such as, hand washing, avoiding close contact with the sick, touching or washing of bodies if not trained to do so, and ensuring that items used by the sick are decontaminated and disposed.
Suspected cases, he said, should be reported to the nearest primary healthcare centre, the ministry or the nearest health workers.