Thursday, 10 May 2018

Nigeria Is Prepared To Stem Ebola Outbreak - Health Minister



Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole has assured that the Federal Government would do everything possible to keep the country safe in light of the recent outbreak of Ebola virus in the neighbouring county, Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Minister said that his ministry will be setting up an emergency operation centre and screening incoming passengers, especially the ones from the DRC and neighbouring countries in the wake of the resurgence.
Recall that the government of the DRC declared an outbreak of Ebola hemorrhagic fever, a rare and deadly disease, in the country earlier this week according to reports by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The declaration came after laboratory results confirmed two cases of the disease in the province of Bikoro in the northwestern part of the country.
Ebola virus disease, which most commonly affects people and nonhuman primates (monkeys, gorillas and chimpanzees), is caused by one of five Ebola viruses. The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission. The average case fatality rate is around 50%.
A government statement released Tuesday states that the Ministry of Health has "taken all necessary measures to respond promptly and effectively to this new epidemic of Ebola in the DRC's national territory".
In the past five weeks, there have been 21 suspected cases of viral hemorrhagic fever including 17 deaths.
Ebola is endemic to the Democratic Republic of Congo, and this is the ninth outbreak of Ebola virus disease since the discovery of the virus in the country in 1976.
The last outbreak occurred there in 2017 in the northern Bas Uele province.That outbreak was quickly contained due to joint efforts by the government, the WHO and other partners.
Speaking on behalf of the country's Minister of Health, Lambert Matuku, the Minister of State and Labour, said, it is "a worrisome sanitary situation." 

The WHO said it is again working closely with the government to rapidly scale up its operations and mobilize health partners, including M├ędecins Sans Frontres (Doctors without Borders), using its model of a successful response to the Ebola outbreak of 2017.
Upon learning of the confirmed cases, the WHO alerted neighbouring countries and set up its Incident Management System to fully dedicate staff and resources to the response.
Hoping to stop the spread of Ebola to surrounding provinces and countries, the WHO also released $1 million from a contingency fund to support its activities for the next three months.
Nigeria's health minister, Professor Isaac Adewole has also hinted in reports that the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control would also consider sending a team to Congo "as part of building capacity for managing the outbreak".
Bikoro is situated on the shores of Lake Tumba near the border with the Republic of the Congo.


By Mercy Kukah


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