Nigeria successfully blocks Ebola, has one case left – Minister

Nigeria has successfully reduced the number of
Ebola cases in the country to one, the Minister of
Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu, has said.
As of Tuesday, only one Ebola patient remained in
isolation in Nigeria, down from the 13 cases the
country confirmed since the outbreak of the virus in
July, Mr. Chukwu said at a press conference. The
deadly virus was first brought to Nigeria 38 days ago
by a Liberian-American man, Patrick Sawyer.
Mr. Sawyer later died, but after health workers who
treated him had contracted the virus. Mr. Chukwu
said so far Nigeria has had 13 cases including the
index case. Five of those infected died, while seven
have successfully recovered and were discharged.
Two of the nurses who managed Mr. Sawyer were
discharged Monday at the isolation centre in Lago,
Mr. Chukwu said. He said Nigeria has been able to
curtail Ebola in the country.
Five deaths were recorded, all of them got the virus
from contracts with the index – Sawyer. Among them
is Dr. Stella Adadevoh, a consultant with the First
Consultant Hospital, who reviewed Sawyer’s case and
prevented him from being discharged after his Ebola
status was established.
Lagos State Health Commissioner Dr. Jide Idris, also
yesterday denied rumours on the social media that
Dr. Adadevoh’s sister had contracted the EVD.
“She tested negative,” he insisted and admonished
Nigerians against rumour mongering.
Dr. Idris said three those who died from the virus
were cremated (including Sawyer). The other two
were buried in line with the World Health
organization (WHO) specification.
The Federal Government also yesterday extended
the reopening of schools – public and private – to
October 13 to prevent the spread of Ebola.
Schools were scheduled to resume in the second
week of next month.
The only patient being treated now, according to the
Health Minister’s update, signed by his aide Mr. Dan
Nwomeh, is a secondary contact, whose spouse was
of one of the physicians who participated in the
management of the Liberian.
He said: “As I speak to you, Nigeria has only one
confirmed case of EVD”.
She is stable but still on treatment at the Isolation
ward in Lagos.
“So far, all the reported cases of the EVD in Nigeria
have their root in the index case, the late Mr.
Sawyer. This is an indication that, thus far, Nigeria
has contained the disease outbreak.
“I wish to reassure Nigerians and indeed the global
community that the government shall remain
vigilant and will not relent as government continues
to work with her partners to ensure that the disease
is kept out of the country.”
The Minister added that 129 persons had been freed
from surveillance, having passed through the 21 days
incubation period for the virus without testing
positive.
Similarly, 128 persons are still within the radar of
government for the virus, the Minister added. “All
those who are under our surveillance, only one
person is symptomatic; we are investigating, the
result is not out. All others are not symptomatic,”
the Minister stated.
“As of today, 26th August, 2014, Nigeria has had
thirteen (13) cases of EVD including the index case.
“Of these thirteen (13), five (5), including the index
case unfortunately did not survive the disease and
are now dead.
“However, seven (7) of the infected persons were
successfully managed at the Isolation ward in Lagos
and have been discharged.
Two (2) of the treated patients, a male doctor and a
female nurse, were discharged yesterday evening,
25th August, 2014, having satisfied the criteria for
discharge.”
The minister also debunked the insinuation that the
sister of Dr Stella Adadevoh who died of Ebola virus
had tested positive to the virus. He said: “She is
negative.”
On the N1.9 billion approved by President Goodluck
Jonathan, to fight the Ebola battle, he explained: “We
did say that the N1.9billion that the President
approved was for the Federal Ministry of Health.
That fund was provided based on the budget that the
Federal Ministry of Health submitted to Mr.
President. It was not termed an Ebola fund.
“I repeat, because now I hear that in some places,
even village heads are asking for their own share.
Nigeria is always thinking of sharing money. It is
money for the Federal Ministry of Health to use in
working. They are going to use it to procure more
vehicles; which have already been ordered.
“They are going to use it to procure more personal
protective equipment which have already been
ordered. They are going to use it to provide isolation
tents, which again have been ordered, including
drugs which will be used to support the patients. It is
a budget for the Federal Ministry of Health and its
agencies as submitted by the Federal Ministry of
Health to Mr. President.
“What I am saying is that there will still be other
funds that will be released in various ways depending
on what any of the cognate agencies is requesting
from Mr. President.
“Now, in the case of Lagos State, after the President
met with governors and their Commissioners for
Health, it was clear, even from the statement made
by the Lagos State governor, that Lagos State is also
under pressure because many of the workers we are
using are in Lagos State. We can’t shortly go and start
recruiting people. We work with the state. It is just
that in every epidemic, the Federal Government
with the Minister of Health in the front, takes control
of epidemic. It is not a state government matter.
“But, we use state personnel as well as local
government personnel; our partners are part of it.
But, the leader of the team is the Minister of Health.
“So, Lagos State government has been spending
money. They pay salary to staff; they’ve been
recruiting more staff. They give these staff incentive.
They provided the isolation ward. But, we led and
decided who should work there. The minister of
health created the teams that are working.”
Dr. Idris added: “We have listed 331 contacts from
day one, out of these, we followed up 159 who have
been discharged. 158 contacts are currently being
followed up.”
He said a woman whose case led to the closure of
the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)
Clinic in Lagos, tested negative and had since been
discharged.
Idris said eight doctors,nine nurses and other
volunteers working in various capacity are fully
involved in attending to patients at the isolation
centre.
He said the government has a special life insurance
cover for them.
Asked about the N200million released by the
Federal Government, Idris said the state had not
received the cash, adding that the delay could be as a
result of the processes involved in fund
disbursement.
“As at this morning, we have not received any fund
from the Federal Government, but we understand
that the process of releasing money go through
processes and we are hoping to receive it soon.
On the re-opening of First Consultant Hospital, he
said there is the need to carry out a complete
decontamination of equipment in the hospital,
adding that once this is completed, the hospital will
reopen for use.
“This strain of Ebola virus imported into the state by
the late Liberian Patrick Sawyer is one out of five. If
anybody gets this strain, and is discharged, the
chances of having it again is almost impossible, but
they could be re infected by other four strains.”
National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples’
Democratic Party, Chief Olisa Metuh, donated N1
million to help contain the virus.
He said: “This is the first time in the history of our
country that our elected and appointed people and
leaders have risen to the great challenge we are
facing. I want to commend the health workers for
the risk they have taken, their commitment, their
dedication to their duties in assisting the entire
populace to completely be ready for this challenge.

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