FCT sets up committee on Ebola

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FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed has constituted a high-powered technical committee to manage and curtail the threat of Ebola virus in the Federal Capital Territory. The committee is chaired by the FCT Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretariat, Dr. Demola Onakomaiya.

While unveiling the committee at the Life Camp, Abuja official residence of the FCT Minister on Monday, Senator Bala Mohammed made it clear that the measure was a proactive one as no case of Ebola virus infection has been recorded in the FCT so far.

The terms of reference of the committee include to work out modalities for responding to the threat of the Ebola virus, to create awareness on the nature and symptoms of the virus, to proactively prepare an action plan for its containment, to work out ways for effective surveillance of the population, visitors and travelers, to recommend tools and method for managing cases if they arise among others.

Senator Bala Mohammed restated the decision of the government to designate and isolate a ward at Kuje General Hospital for management of possible victims of Ebola fever. He allayed the concerns by some residents of the town over the choice of Kuje General Hospital as the centre for the management of victims. According to the Minister, all precautionary measures have been put in place to ensure that the designation of the ward will not endanger the health of medical staff and other workers at the hospital as well as residents of Kuje generally.

He therefore called upon leaders, especially traditional rulers and youths in the area to cooperate and ensure that government’s well-intentioned measures in this respect are not undermined. He cautioned against any form of incitement of the people stressing that as a responsible government, the FCTA would never do anything that would expose the people to danger. He drew attention to the fact that all the states of the federation have designated selected hospitals for treatment of anticipated victims, even as he stated that it was the wish of the FCT Administration that the virus would never spread to FCT. [eap_ad_1] Chairman of the committee and the Secretary Health, FCT, Dr. Demola Onakomaiya in his remark said that presently, there is no case of Ebola fever recorded in FCT. According to him, FCT remains clean as far as Ebola fever is concerned. He also stated that Ebola fever is not a death sentence, stressing that it can be managed and contained.

Onakomaiya said that out of about 10 persons infected by the virus in Lagos, including the late Patrick Sawyer, a Liberian who imported the disease to Nigeria, only two persons have died including Mr. Sawyer himself and a nurse who treated him.

He also stated that Nigeria is strong enough to contain Ebola spread, stressing that in some neighbouring African countries where the disease spread fast, such as Liberia and Guinea, it was because they were in crisis situation such as civil wars.

The representative of World Health Organisation, Dr Rui Vas in his own remark commended President Goodluck Jonathan as well as the FCT Minister for their proactive measures, stressing that for the virus to be contained, we need to move as fast as possible. He urged the Minister to sustain the current momentum, while stressing the need for the establishment of surveillance places.

He urged the people to refrain from rumours, stressing that sometimes, rumours could be more damaging than the virus itself.

The representative of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr Hakeem Oyeyemi Lawal who is also a staff of the National Hospital, Abuja pledged the readiness of the NMA to collaborate with the FCT Administration. He hinted that the nationwide strike embarked upon by the NMA would soon be suspended, in view of the current national emergency.

Speaking on behalf of the Area Council Chairmen, the Chairman of Abuja Municipal Area Council, Hon. Zaphaniah Jisalo expressed optimism that very soon, Nigeria would say bye-bye to Ebola. He declared that the virus would never reach FCT with the current measures being put in place by the FCT Minister. He pledged the readiness of the six Area Council Chairmen to cooperate with the authorities in order to achieve desired result. The Director-General of Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Mr. Sola Omole pledged assistance of his organization in the area of creating public awareness while the FCT Permanent Secretary, Engr. John Chukwu expressed relief that so far no case of Ebole fever has been recorded in the FCT. He urged all residents to stay alert to be alive.