Global acknowledgement of the sterling leadership shown by the Lagos State Government and Governor Babatunde Fashola, SAN in the containment of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the country came from no less a body than the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Thursday.
Speaking during a courtesy call on the Governor at the State House, Ikeja, the WHO Country Director, Dr Rui Vana Gaz said he and his team had come to transmit the compliment and high recognition of the top hierarchy of the WHO to the State Government for the excellent leadership the Governor provided in containing the Ebola Virus Disease.
He stated that the world body was happy with the way the State established the Isolation Ward with the necessary support and that the WHO also offered its support by deploying its staffs to support the Isolation Centre and supplying Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and resource mobilization.
While re-echoing the view of Governor Fashola at some of the meetings held on the EVD about some missed opportunities which aided the importation of the disease, Dr Gaz said Nigeria must avoid any form of complacency to ensure that there is no other case.
He also called for support from the media and other stakeholders on sustained sensitization of the citizenry about the Ebola Virus Disease adding that recent research showed that a sizeable number of people who came into a treatment centre never knew anything about what Ebola Virus Disease is.
He also urged the State to ensure that the schools in the state are fully prepared with the parents being sensitized on what they should do concerning the personal hygiene of the children before the schools are re-opened.
While responding, Governor Fashola said the state would not be complacent about the gains made in containing the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease.
According to the Governor, there is no room for complacency in the state because as long as some parts of the West African sub-region still have cases of Ebola and with the ECOWAS protocol guaranteeing free movement, the Nigerian nation and Lagos state still stands at a risk.
He added that what this calls for is the putting in place of an enlarged capacity to contain such outbreaks in the future while also using the opportunity to make improved sanitation a way of life for the average resident of the State.
“Until all our brothers in the West African sub-region gain effective control against the spread of Ebola Virus Disease, we are still very much at risk and we intend to internalize the lessons learnt from the Ebola Virus issue for tomorrow”, he stated .
The Governor while responding to a remark by the WHO Country Representative that Lagos must ensure that the schools are fully prepared before being re-opened informed that coincidentally he and members of the State Executive Council present came to receive the WHO team from a special session of the Council meeting convened to determine the issue of resumption date for schools in the light of current realities.
He stressed that the meeting would assess the risk level involved concerning the pupils and preparations in terms of educating the school teachers themselves about safeguarding the children.
Governor Fashola explained that the question of whether a particular selected date of resumption should become sacrosanct should not arise but should rather be determined by scientific realities.
He said Lagos State on its part would take cognizance of all the factors that are involved before taking a decision on the resumption of schools in the state, affirming that if the risks involved are considered very high, the State may not reopen the schools.
He added that the State Government would continue to reach out to the World Health Organization in terms of provision of further training beyond Ebola Virus Disease to the health personnel in the State.
He said for example, the Primary Health Care Centre officials need to be exposed to modern techniques and trainings as they provide the first line of defence against any form of infection and disease.
The Governor received the WHO team along with some members of the State Executive Council including the Deputy Governor, Hon (Mrs) Adejoke Orelope- Adefulire, Secretary to the State Government, Dr (Mrs) Ranti Adebule, Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, Special Adviser on Public Health, Dr (Mrs) Yewande Adeshina, Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, Mr Lateef Raji and Permanent Secretaries, Ministry of Health, Dr Modele Oshunkiyesi and the Primary Health Care Board, Dr Kayode Oguntimehin while the WHO Country Director was also accompanied by top officials of the organisation.