Ebola: Nigeria Clears 61 People Under Surveillance

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Sixty-one people placed under observation by the Nigerian
authorities for possible Ebola infection have been cleared and are not at risk
of contracting the disease. The 61 persons were cleared after 21 days since
they had primary or secondary contact with the index case, Patrick Sawyer who
died of Ebola in Lagos.
Lagos State Governor, Babtunde Fashola, disclosed this
during a broadcast to the people of the state on the level of preparedness and
efforts taken by the government to curtail the spread of the virus in the state.  Find the full statement after the cut.

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, Sunday
assured Lagosians of the resolve of his administration to contain the spread,
overcome and defeat the deadly Ebola Virus which was imported into the State
early this month by the now late Liberian-American, Patrick Sawyer.
In a Statewide broadcast, Governor Fashola said the resolve
was based on the courage so far shown by the first set of health workers at the
State and Federal levels as well as the leadership of the State and Federal
Ministries of Health with the support of the Government’s international
partners.
He said the resolve is also reinforced by the encouraging
reports that emanate daily from the isolation wards about those who are
receiving treatment and those under surveillance pointing out that while 61
persons who have been under observation in the last 21 days have been
discharged, there is a report that a confirmed victim of the disease has fully
recovered.
Debunking allegations that victims are being neglected or
that a useful drug or vaccine is being rejected or that there is a shortage of
fund as untrue, Fashola said, “What is true is that we should perhaps never
have been in this situation, but we are now in it. What is true is that the
Ebola virus did not break out from Nigeria. It was imported into Nigeria”.
“What is true is that we have followed all the contacts that
we know who have had primary and secondary contacts with the patient who
imported the virus into our State or with people who had contact with him”, he
said adding that because the Government had to react to an unexpected
situation, it had to react in a proper and methodical way according to
acceptable global health standards.
According to the Governor, “My view of the fact that we are
gaining control is informed by verifiable facts that I receive daily from our
health workers that all the cases of those who have either unfortunately died
or those who are sick and those who are contacts under surveillance are
directly traceable to the imported case”.
Fashola told Lagos residents that contrary to the rumour
that it lacks the resources to tackle the sudden challenge posed by the virus,
the State has enough resources to fund everything that is needed adding that
the House of Assembly has also approved a request for any needed help.
Noting that the news of the full recovery of the confirmed
victim was a reinforcement of the advice from the experts that the Ebola virus
infection is not an automatic death sentence, the Governor declared, “This is
encouraging news from which our containment strategy can profit greatly”,
adding that the State has no case of unknown origin which could raise the risk
of an epidemic.
He paid glowing tribute to the first set of health workers
at the State and Federal levels who, according to him, “stood up to be counted”
as well as the leadership demonstrated by the State and Federal Ministries of
Health with the support of international partners.
“In spite of fear, they stood up to be counted at a time of
grave danger. We salute their courage, professionalism, patriotism and humanitarian
disposition. They are the heroes and heroines that we have looked for for a
long time. I cannot thank them enough”, the Governor said, adding that what
they need now is encouragement and support to gain even stronger control of the
situation.
Fashola expressed joy that in the last one week, the
response of the State to the sudden challenge has become a lot better than when
the news first broke while the capacity to cope with it is increasing daily
adding that although some lives have unfortunately been lost, the State is not
yet at an epidemic stage of the disease and Government is determined to do
everything not to get to that stage.
According to the Governor, this has been made possible with
the advice of the technical partners such as the World Health Organization, the
Centre for Disease Control and the Medecins Sans Frontier who, according to
him, “have tracked the Ebola virus and studied it for decades”.
While assuring that Government is doing everything to ensure
the safety of the workers and give them confidence to continue their work,
Fashola appealed to Lagosians not to do anything to distract them or
de-motivate them adding that what the workers do not need are rumours and the
distractions that such rumours can bring with them”.
The Governor, who acknowledged the concerns and anxiety of
friends and relatives of sick victims, assured them of the concerted efforts of
Government also adding that the fact that they expect special care for their
loved ones is both understandable and expected of them as friends and
relatives.
“I assure you that they are receiving the best care that the
experts have recommended to us, given the circumstances: because they say that
this is the best way to proceed especially because experienced personnel in
Ebola containment and management have always been a challenge”, the Governor
said.
He called for additional medical personnel “who are willing
to volunteer to join hands with those on the frontline”, adding, however, that
the experts have cautioned that those who signed up cannot immediately start to
participate in the isolation ward where sick people are being treated no matter
how qualified and experienced they are. “They must undergo a few days of
training by our international body of advisers and understand the protocol for
operation in the isolation ward for their own safety and sustenance of the
containment plan to stop the virus from spreading”, he said.
Giving “a word of caution and re-assessment” to those, he
said, are seeking to make brisk business from the unfortunate situation to
realize that “this is not our way”, Fashola expressed appreciation to those who
are seeking to raise funds for the current battle against the virus but pointed
out that the State “is not yet at the fund-raising stage and cannot foresee
that eventually”.
“For now, the State has enough resources to fund everything
that is needed. This is what your taxes can do in emergencies. Our House of
Assembly has thankfully approved a request for any needed expenditure”, the
Governor said adding that the Federal Government has shown “the appropriate
level of concern about the national and global risk this poses and I am sure
they will provide funds should we be unable to do so if we ask for it”.
On what Government has done and is doing in this direction,
the Governor said aside providing information to the public on all state-owned
media, with the commendable collaboration of their private counterparts as well
as the social media, he has since Monday, August 11, 2014, commenced meetings
on an almost daily basis with stakeholders in the society such as religious
leaders, traditional rulers, market women and men as well as community
development associations “to brief them and all of you to be cautious but not
to panic”.
He said the combined team of State and Federal personnel and
the international partners are also sharing information with the public and the
Federal Government about the status of the patients and contacts in a
transparent way adding, “We should all please listen to them. They are the ones
who have the facts”.
Appealing to residents to stop all unhygienic habits such as
urinating or defecating in the open as they are fluids that spread the disease,
Fashola declared, “This new week, starting from today, and the next one will be
the sharpest part of the curve that we expect to negotiate”.

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