The Lagos State Government on Monday called on Nigerians to be calm and not panic, assuring them that both the State and Federal Governments are well prepared to ensure that the Ebola Virus Disease does not spread and that no Nigerian is infected with the virus.
Addressing a joint Ministerial press briefing of the Lagos State Ministry of Health and Federal Ministry of Health on development concerning the disease, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, affirmed that there has only been one case of imported Ebola resulting in the death of a Liberian diplomat in Lagos.
Idris added that health authorities were being very proactive about the detection of the Ebola Virus in the Liberian, who was on his way to Calabar, Cross River State for a conference by ensuring that all contacts are being actively followed.
Idris said part of the measures taken after the death of the Liberian was the demobilization of the private hospital where he was admitted and elimination of primary source of infection, adding that the decontamination process in all affected areas has commenced.
He added that the corpse of the victim has since been cremated and the ash is awaiting further directives from the Liberian Embassy.
He commended the role of the management of the hospital and their ability to detect a high-risk patient within 24 hours.
He said: “Adhering strictly to WHO guidelines, the body of the deceased patient was decontaminated using 10 per cent sodium hypochlorite and cremated, with the permission of the government of Liberia.
“A cremation urn has been prepared for dispatch to the family.
“The vehicle that conveyed the remains was also fully decontaminated.”
In terms of contacts tracing, Idris informed that so far a total of 59 contacts was registered, consisting of 44 hospital contacts (38 healthcare workers and six laboratory staff) and 15 Airport contacts, comprising three Economic Community of West African States staff-driver, Liaison and Protocol officers; Nigerian Ambassador to Liberia (Chigozie Obi-Nnadozie), two nursing staff and five Airport passenger handlers.
He explained that out of the number, 20 contacts had been physically screened, of which 50 per cent are of the type one contact and another 50 per cent had type two contacts, adding that the airline manifest has not been provided yet.
The Airline manifest has not been provided by the airline at the time of this report and therefore, the precise number of passenger contacts is yet to be ascertained, especially as two flights were involved (Monrovia-Lome and Lome-Lagos).
There was no report of a medical incident filed.
Idris added that an isolation ward was designated by the Lagos State Ministry of Health at the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba, Lagos State for case management, while the designation of three other health facilities is underway.
A total of 100 PPEs was procured by the NCDC/FMOH and distributed to the private hospital and the State Ministry of health.
WHO also donated 250 PPEs to the NCDC/FMOH.
The Commissioner also said a call-in team was established for the public to dial in and obtain information on the Ebola Virus Disease, while toll-free lines were obtained from a telecommunication service provider to be used for answering questions, creating awareness and receiving notifications of any suspected case just as public awareness creation through social media such as Twitter and Facebook accounts was also activated.
Idris stressed that in recognizing of the importance of involving the community early in the response, traditional and religious leaders were alerted about the disease and requested to report promptly to health-care workers.
The Special Adviser on Health to Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, Dr. Yewande Adeshina, also appealed to operators of traditional health care centres to be wary of patients with fever symptoms who show signs of extreme weakness and diarrhea and immediately alert health authorities about such patients.
The President of the Nigerian Academy of Science, Prof. Oyewale Tomori, who was also at the briefing, said all the contact persons are being screened on a continuous basis to look for any possible signs of the disease.
Tomori commended the timely action taken by the Lagos State Government and the private hospital, adding that there is absolutely no need for people to panic as the golden rule is to observe the personal hygiene of always washing the hands regularly with soap.
The briefing was attended by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Information and Strategy, Lateef Raji; Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health, Dr. Modele Osunkiyesi; Permanent Secretary, Health Services Commission, Dr. Hamid Balogun; and Permanent Secretary Primary Health Care Board, Dr. Kayode Oguntimehin.