Monitoring news across the nation of Nigeria, one could not but notice the unsavoury tune been relayed by the Federal and Lagos State Ministries of health official. This as we know is connected with the first outbreak of Ebola virus in the nation. It was reported a Liberian infected by the Ebola virus flew into one of the busiest Airports in the Country, Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos on Sunday July 20th, 2014. On the news today, the Liberian, Patrick Sawyer was pronounced dead by both Lagos State and federal Ministries of health Authorities. The discrepancies in the information only was that while Lagos state health officials are still saying they need further confirmation to conclusively considered the deceased as an Ebola virus victim, the federal health Authority which seems a bit far from the centre of action has concluded Mr. Sawyer was Ebola victim.
To add credibility, the Federal health officials also claimed the incidence has been curtailed as the victim was isolated as soon as he arrived and taken to a secluded place before his death. The federal source also claimed all the passengers on the plane Mr. Sawyer came in with are already being invited and monitored. People believed the federal ministry of health position has a lot of loopholes and their efforts may be face saving and to boost confidence in the international community.
In all these, it appears most West African Countries where the outbreak of the Ebola virus Disease (EVD) has been discovered kept treating it like a child play. A situation which requires more drastic attention than what is obtained now. While this may be permitted in other West Africa Countries, Nigeria cannot afford that luxury. Lagos State alone is considered to be home to twenty Million people. An outbreak can lead to an epidemic which can spread like wild fire. We must bear in mind the fact that the Ebola virus is such a deadly virus with capacity to kill at least 632 out of a thousand victims. In actual fact, it has killed close to over 90% of its victim. With this first outbreak of EVD is Lagos, Nigeria Government, Health officials need to wake up to reality. Here are some of the ways we can suggest now.
Education and intensive campaign: Government through its State Ministries and local Public Primary health facility must step up advocacy and education level about this dangerous virus now. Like aids, it will take a lot of efforts to convince most rural and unenlightened folks that there must be a disease like this. Many may quickly associate bleeding with punishment with a god or something. People must be trained to track and prevent EVD outbreak and spread and not to associate the virus with something evil infected person had done which makes him/her deserve such strange ailment.
Bush meat: In Nigeria, many like bush meat. They are regular cuisine in many popular food joints across the nation. They need to warn food vendors to be sure of the source of the meat they will be serving their customers. Animals like monkeys, chimps, gorillas or fruit bats infected can transmit the disease to human without knowing.
Red alert and effective monitoring: Every community especially Country borders, Air and Sea ports as well as rural environment must be placed on red alerts as well as 24 hour monitoring. This is no joke.
Stakeholder’s involvement: To curtail outbreak of EVD, everyone must be involved. Loyalty to family member must be dropped where the individual is infected. A case making news around is a Sierra Leone family member who secretly’ stole’ an infected family member from the hospital just to escape family shame or whatever. WE MUST ALL KNOW WHAT WE ARE UP AGAINST.
Proper Information Management: it will not be out of place to establish a national information centre which is responsible for prompt and accurate information dissemination to the public. When different health officials send out different information, it will be difficult to know what to believe,
Health facility, training and proper equipment of specialized health workers: here we have this carefree attitude to people health. It reflects on how we fund our hospitals. No wonder those who can afford it travel out of the Country for safe but sometimes very expensive procedure. We must equip our quickly equip our health facility as well as train health official on how to safely handle treatment without any detriment to their own lives. The Doctor, Sheik Umar Khan, of Sierra Leone championing treatment has just been infected now as well.