Mr Morenike Alex-Okoh, the Director, Port Health Services, Lagos, on Thursday said no fewer than 5,500 intending pilgrims to Saudi Arabia have been screened for Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).
Alex-Okoh, made this known at a news briefing in Lagos.
She said one of the key roles of the Ports Health Services at the points of entry is to ensure that there is no cross-border transmission of EVD.
“The index case came in through one of the international airports, and our key role now is to ensure that no case comes in or is exported out of Nigeria.
“For pilgrims, when they arrive here, they are screened. Screening is done at two levels, the primary and secondary.
“The primary is for temperature, filling health forms and visual observance,’’ she said.
According to Alex-Okoh, the secondary level is for people that show symptoms related to those of EVD.
“If one has or shows symptoms, there will be further assessment to find out why. This is just to essentially be sure that they are not suspected cases of EVD.
“Suspected cases are transferred to isolation centres for further investigation and testing.
“It is to be sure that the pilgrims test negative before they can proceed on their journey.
“So far, we have screened close to six thousand pilgrims and more will be screened in the next couple of days,’’ she said.
Alex-Okoh said that the exit and arrival screening were mandatory for everyone going in and coming out of Nigeria, regardless of where they were coming from or going to.
Also, Dr Olukayode Oguntimehin, the Deputy Incident Manager, Ebola Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), said that EVD screening for intending pilgrims is to contain the virus.
Oguntimehin, who is also the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health, said, “The EOC is structured in a way that is targeted toward curtailing the outbreak.
“There are teams to tackle incidences. The teams are Epidemiological, Surveillance, Port of Entry (POE), Social Mobilisation and Communication team, as well as Case Management team.
“Both the POE and Surveillance team do contact tracing.
“From the index case of EVD, we had 366 contacts in Lagos. As of now, none of them is under surveillance. They have finished the 21 days incubation period.
“But, we still have some people left in Port Harcourt where we had secondary incident cases.
“As at the last count, over 518 people were followed up in Port Harcourt and probably 348 left.”
Mrs Mahmud Oyekan, the Commissioner representing South-West zone of the National Hajj Commission Board, also spoke on the health check system for intending pilgrims.
“The Hajj Commission, in collaboration with all the stakeholders as well as the Saudi Government has further heightened the medical care through massive enlightenment and education of all pilgrims on EVD.
” Officials of the commission and intending pilgrims are screened even before they come to the point of take off, which is the airport.
“So far, from this zone, about seven people are to go for this year’s Hajj and 5500 pilgrims have already gone. All were thoroughly screened for EVD and other health related ailments,’’ she said. (NAN)