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Published On: Mon, Sep 29th, 2014

Ebola: FG to train health workers from Liberia, others

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Nigeria approaches victory against EbolaThe Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, on Monday said Nigeria would offer specialised training to 15 health personnel from three West African countries affected by the Ebola Virus Disease.

Chukwu made this known when he received the African Union Commissioner for Social Affairs, Mr Mustapha Kaloko, in Abuja.

He said the health personnel, comprising nine field epidemiologists and six laboratory scientists, would be selected from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

The minister said the training, scheduled to take place in Nigeria, would last for three weeks, but did not disclose when the training would commence.

He said the move was part of “a broader measure” taken by the Federal Government to assist those countries hit by the virus to contain its spread beyond their borders.

“It is our belief that unless the virus is contained in the most affected countries, Nigeria will continue to be at risk because of its policy of non-restriction of movement across the sub-region. I believe that Nigeria should help its neighbours to contain the scourge, but for now, we are focusing on helping to build the capacity of the health workers in those countries at our own cost.

“So, Nigeria will not rest until Ebola virus is completely tackled in West Africa,’’ he said.

Chukwu said on the long run, countries around the sub-region would be encouraged to train more of its health workers using Nigerian facilities to build a stronger network against common diseases.

The minister said the Federal Government was also planning “a more comprehensive masters programme for health personnel from countries in the sub-region that could last for up to two years.”

He said that the effort was geared toward building the sub-region’s capacity to contain deadly diseases such as Ebola virus, HIV and Lasa fever.

He said the Federal Government had procured drugs worth N50 million to be donated to Sierra Leone as part of Nigeria’s contribution to curb Ebola virus in the country.

Chukwu said that Nigeria had also outlined a comprehensive programme to help its neighbours to successively fight Ebola virus.

The minister expressed optimism that West Africa could stem the tide of Ebola virus within the shortest possible time, especially if countries were committed to the sub-regional’s plan of action against the disease.

“Ebola virus in West Africa can be brought under control within the next six to seven months, if all countries in the sub-region work in unison,” Chukwu said.

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