Vanguard (Lagos)

18 August 2014

Nigeria: All-Out War On Ebola Disease

editorial

THE dastardly "importation" of the dreaded Ebola Viral Disease (EVD) into Nigeria by the late Patrick Sawyer almost a month ago, has brought out the best in the government and people of Nigeria, surprisingly.

As soon as Sawyer was identified as a possible carrier of the plague, the authorities took proactive steps to establish quarantine facilities.

They ensured that all those who had made primary and secondary contact with the Liberian were identified and handled professionally.

It has helped to limit the scope of the infection within the populace, though latest reports have it that the number of people infected has skyrocketed to 198 as at press time.

However, the fact that 177 of these cases were found in Lagos and 21 in Enugu, with all known cases within government quarantine facilities or under strict watch means the situation is still under control. This has got Nigeria commended by the World Health Organisation, WHO.

It is heartwarming that Nigerians met this health emergency eschewing politics, ethnicity and religion, the usual factors that are exploited to cause disharmony among us. Nobody has brought in the issue of People's Democratic Party (PDP) or All People's Congress (APC) into the matter.

The Lagos State Government has worked harmoniously with the federal. It also took the foresighted step of visiting Prophet TB Joshua of the Synagogue of All Nations Church and successfully reached an accord that nobody carrying the disease should be brought there, either from Nigeria or any part of the world.

The media has played its professional role, devoting a large part of its activities to enlighten the people about the plague and how to take measures to avoid it becoming a pandemic. The federal government has also done exceptionally well with President Goodluck Jonathan taking the lead in ensuring that the disease is controlled.

However, the situation has not escaped the attention of mischief makers, who have exploited the open social media forums to spread dangerous and false claims, causing widespread panic, particularly in portraying the bathing and topical intake of salt water as a "cure" for Ebola. This has also led to a number of fatalities by those who allowed themselves to be hoodwinked.

While we commend all Nigerians for standing up together to ward off the Ebola threat, we urge everyone to fully cooperate with the authorities and voluntarily submit themselves and loved ones for medical attention whenever Ebola infection is suspected. The law enforcement agents should also trace and set examples with the mischief makers.

If we tackle our national problems with the same unity of purpose we have applied to the Ebola scourge, our nation will be the better for it.

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