Ebola a national emergency – Health minister.FG impose restrictions on repatriation of corpses
By Umar Muhammad Puma Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu has declared the Ebola outbreak as a national emergency, saying that the whole world could be at risk of the virus.
Briefing House of Representatives Committee on health, at a one day public hearing on the virus, the minister said the Liberian Patrick Sawyer – the man credited with bringing Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) to Nigeria ‘knew he was sick’ with the virus before entry to Nigeria.
According to him, the statistic indicated that the total of 7 people were infected with the virus in Nigeria including the Liberian that brought the disease into the country and a nurse who treated him recently died, making the number of the people affected to 5. Project Director, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Prof. Abdulsalami Nasidi disclosed that Sawyer had 70 primary and secondary registered contacts of which 39 were hospital contacts and 22 airport contacts. Sawyer’s contacts it was disclosed comprised officers of the State Security Service (SSS), Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), airport support personnel and medical personnel that attended to Sawyer. Director, Port Health Services in the health ministry, Dr. Sani Gwarzo disclosed that restrictions have been placed on the repatriation of corpses of Nigerians abroad into the country. As part of on-going efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak in Nigeria,
Gwarzo said 66 personnel were required by the health ministry to man and screen travellers at the nations several travel entry points.
Meanwhile, the health minister faulted reports on the curative powers Bitter Kola had on Ebola, a claim reported propagated by Prof. Maurice Iwu. “No evidence shows that bitter kola will prevent or cure Ebola” the minister stated. He said Iwu’s experiment was inconclusive.
Earlier, the Chairman, House Committee on Health, Rep.Ndudi Elumelu, said that the committee reconvened to find out how many Nigerians are affected by Ebola and what the Ministry has done to curb the spread. He said that Ebola is what most Nigerians are currently worried about, adding that measures must be taken to protect people