Nigeria: Senate Urges Quick Measures to Prevent Ebola Outbreak in Nigeria

The Senate on Tuesday adopted various resolutions to prevent an outbreak of ebola virus in Nigeria.

Part of the resolutions was to urge two ministers to be pro-active in preventing an outbreak of the disease already ravaging the East African country of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Monday said it has been authorised to use an experimental vaccine to combat an outbreak of Ebola in the DRC, where at least 19 people have been killed by the virus.

To forestall an outbreak in Nigeria, as experienced in Nigeria in 2014, Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos-APC) presented a motion on the issue on Tuesday.

Mrs Tinubu flashed back to the 2014 situation where a carrier immigrant from Liberia transferred the disease to Nigeria.

She said, "The Senate recalls with great distress that an infected immigrant who arrived Nigeria on the 23rd of July was the index case of the ebola virus in Nigeria. With varying symptoms ranging from fever to diarrhoea, there were a total of 869 contacts and 20 laboratory confirmed cases were recorded.

"The Senate is be reminded that the tide was stemmed by quick response of the Nigerian government vid declaration of emergency, collaboration of federal and states Ministries of Health, use of incidence management approach, identification and follow up contacts.

"The Senate is saddened that in spite of quick measures taken, the epidemic claimed eight lives including those of medical personnel who put their lives at risk to contain the disease.

"The Senate is disturbed that recent reports of media outlets and the World Health Organisation show that the disease is back in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo with 19 dead and 39 casualties recorded so far.

"The Senate is further reminded that DRC is 445 kilometres by air from Abuja, is easily accessible via a flight from Lagos that takes less than three hours.

"Senate also notes report of WHO stating that Nigeria and other African countries are at modest risk of spread.

"The Senate is worried that unless we prepare our hospitals properly equipped with the ebola vaccine where necessary, this is an epidemic we might be unable to take up and will only cause untold hardship.

"The Senate is further worried that if we do nothing, given our population, we may well be on our way to creating a global situation."

Adopting the three recommendations in the motion, the Senate urged the Minister of Interior to take necessary steps to check immigration

It also urged the Minister of Health to ensure alertness to combat disease in whatever cases may rise and get the ebola vaccine ready for an emergency while advising Nigerians who travel to other African countries to ensure utmost level of care to avoid getting infected.

In an additional prayer by Chief Whip, Olusola Adeyeye, the Senate called for a quick resolution of the ongoing crisis in the health sector.

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