By Stanley Onyekwere
In view of the continued threat of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the country, and health workers being most at risk of the epidemic, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) through its Health and Human Services Secretariat (HHSS) has organized a sensitization training to bolster its health personnel preparedness against the scourge.
The health workers drawn from 13 FCT hospitals, including the Gwagwalada Specialist and the National Hospitals, were educated and enlightened to observe basic precautions, to be vigilant for the recognition and reporting that will facilitate prompt investigation of patients with EVD symptoms and other similar diseases that can cause Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers (VHF).
Declaring the training open, the Secretary of the HHSS, Dr. Demola Onakomaiya, said it has become critical at this time for workers to reawaken the culture of routinely applying strict infection prevention and control precautions more so that Person-to-person transmission of Ebola virus is primarily associated with direct contact with blood and body fluids.
He pointed out that the loss of medical staff impedes outbreak control in significant ways; it depletes one of the most important assets for controlling any outbreak, leads to fear for their stock and also increases the level of anxiety over the epidemic.
The Secretary noted that the outbreak is affecting quite a number health care worker, one of the most essential resources for containing an outbreak, saying “these tragic infections and deaths significantly erode morale and response capacity.
He further added that the sensitization will serve as the starting point for all hospitals to initiate efforts during the Hospitals Continuous Medical Education (CME) program, to provide relevant and realistic information to others that will make for better preparedness on the part of all staff.
“The sensitization training should be a turning point in the outbreak preparedness and response in the FCT, and if we do not put in efforts to contain the situation in the FCT, the consequences can be terrible not only in terms of loss of lives but also in terms of socio economic disruption and a possible risk of spread to other locations,” Dr. Onakomaiya was quoted in a statement by Head, Public Relations Unit of HHSS, Badaru Yakasai, at the weekend.
Speaking earlier, the Director Public Health Department, Dr. Hadiza Balarabe, said the facilitators for the sensitization have been carefully chosen, based on their expertise and experiences over years to provide the adequate information that will build competencies for the work ahead.