The Federal and Lagos State Governments have warned churches and healing homes that specialise in miracles to beware of treating or trying to heal suspected patients suffering from the deadly Ebola Virus Disease, EVD, as that could lead to the spread of the disease.
Prof. Abdulsalami Nasidi of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, who spoke in Lagos, southwest Nigeria, said some of the affected people with EVD in neighbouring countries might want to come to Lagos, Nigeria where there were many healing houses that claim to have cure for diseases to get healing.
There have been several cases where people from African countries with serious ailments flocked to some churches and other miracle centres in Lagos to get healing for their ailment.
According to Nasidi, such healing houses and churches should be warned as they could be used to spread the deadly virus all in the name of trying to heal victims of the disease.
He appealed to healing houses or miracle centres that have patients with symptoms of EVD to quickly report such to the government for immediate action to curtail any possibility of spreading the disease.
Nasidi stated that in regions where EVD had killed many people, some of the victims had flocked to healing houses for cure, but ended up spreading the virus, with the supposed healers contracting the deadly virus, warning that there is no cure or treatment for EVD for now and that all must be safety conscious.
On how people who came into contact with Ebola cases were categorised, Nasidi explained that “the revision of the content is how close you have come in contact with the living or dead patients. Transmission occurs in these cases not only in the living patient but also the dead patient. So type I are those who come into direct contact with the body fluid of the living or dead patient, this is the primary high risk group.
“The second category are those who came contact with facilities used in treating these patients. The third category is those who come into contact with those who came into very close contact with the patients or the dead body. The 4th category of people are within the area of active transmission of the virus.”
He also disclosed that the sample of the victim taken to Dakar in Senegal for test was never taken there, saying that “we had packaged all the samples to send to Dakar, but we were very disappointed that the courier at the last moment rejected taking the sample. That is why we immediately sought for second option. We will still dispatch it to Dakar, but the WHO has accepted the preliminary result that he died of Ebola.
Special Adviser to the Lagos Governor on Public Health, Dr. Yewande Adeshina also appealed to healing houses not to take risk in trying to cure people with suspected cases of EVD as such would amount to further spreading the disease.
According to Prof. Oyawale Tomori, President, Nigeria Academy of Science, “we have to alert people that there is absolutely no need to panic. If that is the case, you will not find me here because I was in 1995 in Quebec for three weeks dealing with Ebola cases and I am still alive.
“If you follow the basic rules of washing your hands and prevention control, you should have nothing to worry about. In places where the epidemic has spread, it is because people have abandoned the basic rule and tenet of prevention control and where people have introduced that, the epidemic has been stopped in its track. We must be alert until the epidemic is declared free in those areas where it is now; we must be on the alert.”
Lagos Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris said an isolation ward had been designated by the Lagos State Ministry of Health at the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba for case management, adding that the designation of three other health facilities was underway.
“A total of 100 Personal Protective Equipment, PPE, were procured by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC and the Federal Ministry of Health, FMOH, and have been distributed to the private hospital and the State Ministry of Health. WHO also donated 250 PPEs to the NCDC/FMOH.