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States Strategise to Confine Ebola Virus to Lagos

States strategise to confine Ebola to Lagos
Health workers take blood samples for Ebola virus testing at a screening tent in the local
government hospital in Kenema, Sierra Leone.

Following the death of some infected health workers in Lagos, other states in Nigeria have adopted measures to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus to their regions.

Most of the states drawing up strategies to prevent the spread of the disease are working to ensure that the virus remains in Lagos.

Even as the states worked on their anti-ebola strategies during the week there were reports that some individuals had been tested for the virus in Enugu and Kwara states.

Last week, one of the nurses who was in contact with the first Ebola victim in Nigeria, Patrick Sawyer, escaped quarantine in Lagos and fled to Enugu to meet her family members.

Reports say all the 20 people that the nurse came in contact with have been put under surveillance while she and her husband were sent back to the Infectious Diseases Hospital in Yaba, Lagos State.

Also, in Ilorin, Kwara, a seven-month-old baby is being monitored after exhibiting symptoms of the virus.

Sunday Punch gathered that the Ondo State government had started the screening of in-bound travellers from Lagos and other neighbouring states to detect carriers of the Ebola virus.

The Commissioner for Information, Kayode Akinmade, told our correspondent on Friday that equipment and other protective medical facilities had been procured for use by health workers who have been posted to strategic areas.

He said, “We have placed our health workers at our border towns with states like Osun, Ekiti, and Ogun so that those coming from Lagos where the Ebola virus has been fully identified can be screened.

“ We have also provided our health workers with protective equipment so that they can adequately handle the issues. Because there is no cure yet for the disease, we are also enlightening the people on ways they can protect themselves.”

Akinmande noted that although the Akure airport had no direct flight from Lagos, the state government was keeping close watch on travelers from Abuja and other parts of the country.

Similarly, the Bayelsa State the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Markson Fefegha, said the state government would “monitor people coming from other states to ascertain if they had the Ebola virus.”

Fefegha also said the state would not receive corpses into the state from any other state, particularly, Lagos.

“We have 103 Ebola surveillance centres across the local governments in the state. The two major centres are the Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa and the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital in Okolobiri as well as small units in other parts of the state,” he said.

Also in Kwara, the state Chairman of Ebola Viral Disease Control Committee, Prof. Sunday Opabola, told our correspondent that government and residents “are wary of visitors from Lagos.”

According to him, the seven-month baby who is suspected to have the virus was brought into the state by his parents from Ibadan.

Opabola said one of the people that was taking care of the baby had come from Lagos to Ibadan and later left for Lagos before the parents and the baby visited Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.

He stated that the state government had earmarked the Sobi Specialist Hospital and two other hospitals in the state for possible Ebola patients while dedicating an ambulance to convey Ebola patients.

In Edo State, the Information and Orientation Commissioner, Louis Odion, said following the spread of the virus, the state government was set to hold a meeting that would deliberate on how to keep the virus from the state.

A source in the ministry of health, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told our correspondent that the state government was set to inaugurate a committee on Monday which would consider several measures to curtail the spread of the virus.

In an anticipation of an outbreak of the dreaded disease, the Plateau State Government has set up a quarantine site.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Elias Pede, told our correspondent in an interview that the site was set up at the old site of the Jos University Teaching Hospital, JUTH.

Akwa Ibom State Government has also set up a rapid response team to coordinate response in the event of Ebola outbreak in the state.

The state Commissioner for Health, Dr. EmemAbasi Bassey, said health personnel had been advised to use gloves and masks when attending to sick patients.

Ironically, in Enugu State, which has recorded a possible Ebola outbreak, an official of the state government, who did not wish to be named, noted there was no diagnostic laboratory to test suspected cases of Ebola disease.

Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Linus Awute, has said the Federal Government has not received the Nano Silva drug, which is to be used on Ebola patients in Lagos.

Awute told our correspondent on Friday that the drug was being expected very soon in the country.

He said, “A lot of global organisations have been able to make pledges that they would make the drugs they have available to us. However, we have not received the Nano Silva as at the moment.

“We have started to take delivery of standard personal protective equipment. We have also received consultants that will assist in the training of personnel who are going to be involved in the containment exercise.

“We have also taken a mobile laboratory to Lagos and this also required some training.”

He ruled out the use of alternative medicine, saying the best anybody could do was to commission treatment research group and the ministry will fund it and build the capacity.

“Already we have a claim that bitter kola can kill the virus and we have engaged the scientist that was involved in the bitter kola research in the United States. He is one of our sons and we have included him in the research group that we set up.

“The group will now consult with other research groups around the world. They will also search for opportunities for collaborative research.

“Most importantly, the Ebola Cure Vaccine Research had started somewhere and Prof. Maurice Iwu is part of the research team. The experiment stopped at the test tube level, where it was noted that the extracts that were obtained from bitter kola was able to kill Ebola virus in the test tube.”

The Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Linus Awute, has said the Federal Government has not received the Nano Sylva drug, which was to be used on Ebola patients in Lagos.

Awute, in a chat with journalists in his office, however said the drug was being expected very soon in the country.

He said, “A lot of global organisations have been able to make pledges that they would make the drugs they have available to us and these are expected as quickly as possible but we have not received the Nano Sylva as at the moment.

“We have started to take delivery of standard personal protective equipment. We have also received consultants that will aid in the training of personnel who are going to be involved in the containment exercise.

“We have also taken a mobile laboratory to Lagos and this also required some training.”

He ruled the use of alternative medicine, saying the best anybody could do was to commission treatment research group and the ministry will fund it and build the capacity.

“Already we have a claim that bitter cola can kill the virus and we have engaged the scientist that was involved in the bitter cola research in the United States who happens to be one of our sons, and we also cultivated him into the research group that we have set up.

“The group will now consult with other research groups and undertaken happenings around the World. They will also search for opportunities for collaborative research to be able to work.”

He said It was not out of place that there may be other people in other places involved in similar reserach efforts to address the challenges on ground.

“With such a research group on ground, our expectation is that we will receive intermittent reports about how they are fairing.

“Most importantly, the Ebola Cure Vaccine Research had started somewhere and Prof. Maurice Iwu is part of the research team. The experiment stopped at the Test Tube level, where it was noted that the extracts that were obtained from bitter Kola was able to kill Ebola virus in the test tube.

“So we set up the research group to take up the challenge from that level.”



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