LAGOS -- The first confirmed Ebola Virus Disease, EVD, case that was also one of the three persons quarantined in Oduoha, Emohua Local Government Area, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has died of the disease.
The deceased, an elderly woman, is the seventh Ebola fatality to be recorded in the country, and the first death in the new Port Harcourt isolation centre for Ebola.
She was said to have shared the same room with late Dr. Iyke Enemuo, the doctor who treated the Nigerian ECOWAS diplomat, Koye Olu-Ibukun at the Good Heart Hospital, Port Harcourt, prior to the death of the former from EVD.
It could be recalled that the late woman was quarantined with a doctor and a pharmacist, who were staff of Sam Steel Clinic, a health facility founded by late Enemuo.
However, following several tests ran on the duo, it was discovered that they were free from Ebola and were given a clean bill of health. Though reports say they were still under medical surveillance.
Presenting an update on the status of EVD, in Nigeria, Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, disclosed that the eighth Ebola patient successfully managed in the Lagos isolation centre was discharged Tuesday.
Chukwu, who gave the number of cases successfully managed and discharged in the country as eight, explained that the last case to be discharged, (the eighth case) was the first secondary contact to be diagnosed, adding that the patient is a spouse of a primary contact of the index (first) case.
He said: "Total number of cases successfully managed and discharged is now eight. The last case to be discharged, the first secondary contact to be diagnosed and a spouse of a primary contact of the index case, went home from the isolation ward in Lagos yesterday (Tuesday). The ninth survivor is the ECOWAS Commission official who jumped surveillance in Lagos and travelled to Port Harcourt where he infected the doctor who attended to him."
Chukwu who hinted that schools may re-open from September 15, 2014 as last contacts under surveillance may be discharged by then and the fact that there were no community transmissions in Nigeria, stressed that the 18th confirmed case of Ebola in Nigeria is the sister of the late Port Harcourt doctor, who is currently on admission in the Lagos isolation centre.
He said: "Total number of deaths from Ebola Virus Disease in Nigeria is now seven. One is the index (first) case, which occurred in a private hospital in Lagos; four in the Lagos isolation ward, one in the Port Harcourt isolation ward, the female patient who was on admission in the same hospital where the late Port Harcourt doctor was also admitted, while another one was the doctor who was infected by the ECOWAS Commission official in Port Harcourt and who did not come under the care and management of the Incident Management Committee."
The total number of EVD patients currently under treatment, according to the Minister, is two; one in the Lagos isolation ward and another one in the Port Harcourt isolation ward.
On contacts, Chukwu said 41 contacts are currently under surveillance in Lagos while Port Harcourt has 296.
On the positive side, the minister also revealed that a total of 320 contacts have been discharged in Lagos after they were observed for 21 days.
No Ebola cases outside Lagos, P/Harcourt
He, however, debunked rumours of EVD cases outside Lagos and Port Harcourt.
His words: "These include the three reported cases in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, and one case in Calabar."
The minister also dispelled reports that the body of the late Port Harcourt doctor was transported to Edo or Delta State, saying the body has been decontaminated and will be interred in Port Harcourt.
On the rumoured case in Zaria, he said the blood sample has been sent for Ebola testing and result is being awaited.
Disquiet as Kaduna awaits test result of suspected Ebola victim
In Kaduna, the entire state was gripped by anxiety yesterday as result of the test on its first suspected Ebola victim was being awaited.
The issue of the disease was the major focus of public discourse with many praying hard that the result turns negative.
Our correspondent who was at the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Shika, a community on the outskirts of Zaria Town, saw security operatives guarding the patient at his isolated ward. He was isolated in one of the private wards of the hospital, and no person was allowed near him except medical staff attending him.
In a reaction, Kaduna State Deputy Governor, Ambassador Nuhu Bajoga, who is Chairman, Kaduna State Ebola Prevention and Control Committee, told Vanguard that information available to him was yet to confirm that the condition of the 19-year-old Law undergraduate of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, suspected of having the virus, may turn out to be something else.
"He has not travelled anywhere near Lagos or the South. The only place he has been of late was the North East.
"Kaduna State is on top of the situation as we already have on ground trained personnel and the facilities needed to contain any outbreak. There is no need to panic", he said.
Also Kaduna State Commissioner of Health, Dr. Thot Dogo, who spoke to newsmen shortly after attending the State Executive Council meeting at the Sir Kashim Ibrahim Government House, Kaduna said the Lagos laboratory where the blood sample of the patient was taken to was yet to release the result of the test.
Meanwhile, Chief Medical Director, CMD, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Professor Khalid Lawal denied receiving an Ebola patient in the hospital.
He said there was no iota of truth in the reports that a 19-year old student of the Faculty of Law, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, was admitted because he was suffering from the dreaded disease. "I can't confirm it because we don't have any test result. We are not taking chances but it is unlikely."
N192.78 million required for PPEs in a month
The migration of the American-Liberian, late Patrick Sawyer, cannot but be described as one disastrous visit. This is because his visit to Nigeria has not only brought pains, unnecessary deaths, emotional stress, but also serious economic burden to the nation.
The Federal Government had last week announced the donation of N200 million to the Lagos State Government for the treatment and management of confirmed patients in Lagos. How far can this go?
Investigations by Vanguard showed that a Personal Protective Equipment, PPE, alone costs N17, 000 on the average. Findings also show that a doctor or nurse needs an average of two to three PPEs daily and the PPEs are all disposable.
Further investigations showed that for the eight doctors managing patients at the Lagos Ebola isolation centre, a total of 24 PPEs would be required in a day, while nurses who number 10 on the average, would require a total of 30 PPEs in a day.
At the cost of N17,000 per PPE, estimates show that Lagos spends on the average, a total of N918,000 on a daily basis, on PPEs alone. This comes to N6.426 million weekly or N192.78 million in a month.
The World Health Organisation,WHO, had supplied the country with over 6,000 PPEs that are currently being used even as the Federal Government has said it considered it very important to have the right PPE in ensuring adequate protection for healthcare workers.
Minister of health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, said: "We have also decided that all PPEs to be bought should be in line with specifications provided by the WHO. It was also decided that PPEs will only be procured from WHO-recommended manufacturers/suppliers."
Chukwu had also stated that the government had already initiated discussions with the WHO for the procurement of 4,000 basic PPEs and 500 Heavy Duty PPEs (for use by morticians).
But when and how these materials will be distributed is of importance to Nigeria.
However, critical observers are of the opinion that if about N918, 000 is spent only on PPE alone a day, the N200 million given to the Lagos State government may be a far cry from the reality on ground.
Doctors are also human - Adeshina
Commenting on the response of the Lagos state government to the EVD in the state, Senior Assistant to the Lagos State Governor on Public Healthcare, Dr. Yewande Adeshina said: "I really want to seek the opportunity to appeal to our healthcare providers, that we have given them training, standard operating procedures and all the information they need to be able to treat Ebola appropriately and make a different diagnosis and to refer patients to the Ebola treatment centre."
Adeshina stressed that all health workers needed to do was to keep the patient in their facilities and call the Ebola help lines for the rapid response team to come and access the patient on a more comprehensive level.
"I think why some doctors hesitate is because of fear. Doctors are human, but some of us are braver. They rather refer patients to the treatment centre; that is not proactive in treating patients. When patients die, they don't have enough information to confirm the cause of death and automatically they call it Ebola.
"Some people give the wrong temperature readings, but the minute the fever kicks in, we have to bring in the patient for treatment. Some people are so scared at that stage, we found out that they were not taking their temperatures well or were not giving us good temperature readings.