THE Federal Government has expressed reservation at the manner in which some countries have continued to selectively quarantine Nigerian travellers as a result of the Ebola Virus Disease, EVD, outbreak without any health or scientific basis.
Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, who made the observation yesterday in Abuja, while giving an update on Ebola in Nigeria, appealed to countries and individuals not to profile or stigmatise anyone on account of EVD.
The minister who observed that Nigerians who travelled out of the country since the outbreak of the EVD have faced untold trauma at destination countries, therefore urged countries guilty of the practice to tread with caution in carrying out security and health checks on Nigerians without having to stigmatise them on the basis of the dreaded scourge.
His words: “In particular, we have observed that some countries have continued to selectively quarantine Nigerian travellers without any health or scientific basis. For the record, let me say clearly that while any individual from any country of the world could be a carrier of the EVD and transmit same to others, no single Nigerian as of now has introduced EVD to any country. The Federal Government shall continue to remain vigilant and strengthen screening at ports of entry and exit,” he said.
Chukwu who warned that as long as there is a single case of EVD anywhere in the world, every nation, every individual remains at risk and Nigeria and Nigerians are not exempt, argued that Nigeria will continue to support protocols approved by the World Health organisation, WHO, that do not support the closure of borders, do not restrict travel, and do not stigmatise anyone on the basis of the passport they carry.
Chukwu who spoke on the 50th day after the EVD, was imported into the country, also confirmed the 19th case of the disease, even as another survivor was discharged from the isolation centre in Port Harcourt, Rivers state, bringing the number of survivors to 11.
19th Ebola case confirmed
Confirming the 19th EVD case in the country, Chukwu said he was the fiancé of one of the primary contacts of Sawyer’s who died of the disease, whose test results were ambiguous but further tests established the disease.
“He had only mild symptoms and he has since recovered from the illness. He was quarantined but because of the equivocal test result he was not placed on active treatment, “he explained.
The latest survivor, the minister noted, is the sister to the late Dr. Iyke Enemuo who secretly treated a primary contact of the Liberian-American, Patrick Sawyer that imported the virus into the country in hotel room.
Giving an indication that the wife of the late Port Harcourt doctor may be discharged this week as she is completely free from Ebola symptoms, Chukwu explained that all cases in Nigeria are traceable to the Index (first) case explained that
“As of this morning (Monday) the total number of confirmed cases of EVD in Nigeria is nineteen, fifteen in Lagos, four in Port Harcourt. The total number of deaths from EVD in Nigeria stands at seven. Five of this died in Lagos, one in a private hospital, the index case Mr. Sawyer, and the other four in the isolation ward in Lagos State.
“Two of the seven died in Port Harcourt, the medical doctor who died in a private hospital and the contact, a patient in the hospital at the time the doctor was also on admission, who died in the isolation ward in Rivers State.
The total number of patients who have been successfully managed and discharged stands at nine and the latest is the sister of the Port Harcourt doctor who was discharged from the isolation ward in Rivers State yesterday.
He noted that the nine patients successfully managed and discharged are among the total number of 11 survivors of EVD in Nigeria.
The Minister also revealed that at only one person, the wife of the Port Harcourt doctor is on treatment in the isolation ward in Lagos noting: “She no longer has any symptoms and is undergoing series of tests preparatory to her discharge from the isolation ward this week.” He added that 38 days after the diseases was imported into Port Harcourt, 477 contacts have been traced and are under surveillance.
“The 477 contacts under surveillance are mixed group consisting of tertiary and quaternary contacts of Mr. Sawyer’s. Five contacts have already been discharged from surveillance in Port Harcourt having completed 21 days of observation, “he explained
Also, in Lagos, only 27 contacts are under surveillance while a total of 339 contacts who were previously under surveillance have been discharged having completed 21 days of observation
Five contacts have already been discharged from surveillance in Port Harcourt having completed 21 days of observation.
The minister noted that in the last one week, the EVD rumours have been investigated and all the cases have turned out to be Ebola negative.
He debunked specifically, rumours in Kebbi, Kaduna, Lagos, Oyo, Ebonyi, Delta and Sokoto States as well as the Federal Capital Territory.
On the visit of the Ministers of Health to Port Harcourt weekend, Chukwu said they were able to inspect facilities for the management of EVD the state and met with experts on ground.
He expressed satisfaction that facilities at the Rivers State treatment center, laboratory and Emergency Operation Centre met world standards, adding that the case management team has enough medical and nursing personnel and the morale of the personnel were high.
He recalled that the Federal Ministry of Health has commenced distribution of ambulances, utility vehicles and motorcycles to the Port Health Services at the international airports, seaports and land crossings.
“The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, has also commenced the training of State personnel in the management of EVD. The personal protective equipments, PPEs, which were ordered, are expected in the country in a few weeks but for now we have enough,” he stated.