By Stanley Onyekwere
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has called on the residents of the territory to be vigilant in the face of the Ebola hemorrhagic fever threat and to report any suspicious case to a health facility nearest to them.
According to the Administration, the disease which is caused by the deadly Ebola virus usually has an incubation period of 2- 21days before the onset of symptoms.
The Secretary, FCT Health and Human Services Secretariat, Dr. Demola Onakomaiya, who issued the warning, during an emergency meeting he held with the Management Staff of the Secretariat on the preparedness of the FCT to tackle the threat of the disease and the steps taken to inform the residents of the territory on the development.
In statement issued and signed by Head, Public Relations Unit of the Secretariat, Badaru Yakasai, at the weekend, the Secretary argued that even though Ebola is clearly a severe disease with high fatality, it is also an infection that can be controlled with simple personal hygiene like hand washing with soap.
Onakomaiya added that infection in humans occurs when they come in contact with body fluids from an infected person, other contaminated objects/articles from infected persons, consumption of “bush-meat” infected with the virus and which has not been properly cooked or the handling of dead animals.
The Secretary further added that those at higher risk of the infection are health workers, family members and others in close contact with sick people and deceased persons.
He said symptoms of the Ebola disease typically include intense weakness, sudden fever, aches, diarrhoea, vomiting and stomach ache. Additionally, people may experience qrashes, red eyes, chest pain, throat soreness, difficulty in breathing or swallowing, impaired kidney/liver function and bleeding(internal and external.
However, Onakomaiya disclosed that the FCT Administration through the Secretariat has already embarked on an enlightenment drive in the area Councils to educate residents on the symptoms and dangers of the disease and how they can prevent the infection.
He further noted that the Administration on its part is stepping up implementation of key outbreak containment strategies including community engagement and involvement, tracing of contacts, sensitization of health workers at all levels both public and private, provision of personal protective equipment, distribution of information leaflets and ensuring effective coordination of all response activities.
He emphasised that even though the Ebola virus disease can be devastating to families and communities, the infection can be controlled through the use of recommended protective measures in clinics/hospitals, at community gatherings or at home.
Similar, the Director, Public Health Department, Dr. Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe, who urged residents to make sure they observe strictly, noted that prevention strategies so that they can protect themselves and their families.
She said taking preventive measure against the deadly disease has become necessary because “an infectious disease in any part of the world can be in ones’ neighbourhood which is half a world away within a short time.”