By Stanley Onyekwere
The controversy over the proposed establishment of an isolation centre for Ebola patients in Kuje General Hospital continued yesterday, when the minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Bala Mohammed, accused the Chairman of Kuje area council, Shaban Tete, for mobilising youths to protest against the siting of the facility in the area.
Insisting on establishing the isolation centre in Kuje, the minister labeled the Council boss an ignorant of the deadly Ebola disease, saying the chairman or anyone had no right to detect to the government on how to go about the issue.
The minister, who did not hide his feelings during an FCT stakeholders meeting on Ebola, heled at his official residence in Life Camp, Gwarimpa, Abuja, mandated the chairman to go back and make sure he convince the youths to stop resisting the decision of the administration to set up the centre in the area.
Peoples Daily reports that some youths in Kuje had last week, taken to the streets in the area, protesting the choice of the hospital in the area as the disease control centre as they threatened to breach the law if the FCT Administration implements the plan.
Not left out, Tete have made it clear that they would not allow the siting of Ebola disease emergency centre in the town.
Already, the federal ministry of Health, in conjunction with the FCTA has begun putting up structures inside the Kuje General Hospital for the centre.
It was gathered that the threat by the residents of the town and the Council chairman is also coming against the background of an allegation that the government has voted N20 Million to bribe relevant stakeholders of the Council to ease the siting of the centre.
However, at the meeting, the Kuje Chairman when given the floor to make his remarks bluntly bared his mind, expressing his displeasure and that of the Gbomo of Kuje over the development.
“We the people of Kuje are also citizens of this country; I and the Gbomo were troubled when we heard about your plan to use our hospital as Ebola centre.
“Everybody knows that Ebola is a very deadly disease. This is the only health centre in the village where every member of the community comes for treatment.
“It is at the centre of the town so if there is an outbreak all my communities will be affected; why can’t the FCTA use one of its specialist hospitals; why Kuje?” , he queries.
While swiftly reacting to chairman’s’ remark, an obviously disappointed Mohammed told the chairman reprimanded him for inciting the youths against government.
“You are operating from point of ignorance. The Kuje centre was designated after taking into consideration so many factors. It will not cause Kuje people any harm.
“I don’t like your attitude. Don’t work in ignorance. I have intelligence that you are inciting the youths against government.Go and educate your people.
Kuje General Hospital belongs to FCT and not Kuje Area Council; You don’t love the people of Kuje more than we do. That is selfishness,” he scolded the chairman.
The Minister however, assured that the administration would make sure the hospital have an isolation centre that conform with the world best practice.
He said the administration could not consider Tete’s suggestion of using the specialist hospital in the FCT as the Federal Government has taken over them-National Hospital and Gwagwalada specialist hospitals.
Earlier, the minister stressed that the FCTA will be proactive by putting some medical facilities on ground to confront the disease.
On his part, the Secretary, FCT Health Secretariat, Dr. Demola Onakomaiya, debunked the rumours which made the round last week those three cases of Ebola have been recorded in the FCT.
He explained that the alleged three suspected case emanated from three private hospitals, saying one of the cases was from Universal Health Centre in Kuje where a man who took excessive alcohol was rushed to when he started vomiting and bleeding.
He further explained that another of the case in Wuse hospital involved an HIV patient, who was referred to the hospital from Zanklin hospital while the one from Garki hospital, was a diabetic patient who was also referred to the hospital for dialysis from a private hospital where he was not taken good care of.
The secretary therefore urged residents not to panic, as the disease is not a death case as it can be contained and managed if the appropriate thing is done on time.
Highpoint of the stakeholders meeting was the constitution of a committee by the FCT minister, to brainstorm and come up with a scientific, objective prevention technique of containing spread of the Ebola disease in the FCT.
The meeting had representatives from religious bodies, health association and organisation, transport sector, FCT Area Council chairmen, traditional and religious leaders, international organisations and Top FCTA officials among others.
It would be recalled that presently, there are no specific medications or vaccine but the disease can be controlled through the proper application of recommended prevention and control measures by individuals, families, communities and health facilities.
As at the weekend, a total of 961 persons deaths have been recoded with 1,779 affected by the disease, mostly in Liberia, Sierra- Leone and Guinea.