Expert says Nigeria capable of handling Ebola case

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A medical expert, Dr Ademola Lawal, has said that Nigeria has the capacity to handle any case of Ebola in the country with its experience on the Lassa fever challenge.

He also gave the assurance that the country has taken all necessary steps, and was prepared to detect and curb any case of Ebola that could come into the country.

“Our in-country improved capacity to prevent, detect and respond to Lassa fever will ensure that any case of Ebola that sneaks into the country will be detected.

“Ebola and Lassa fever belong to the same class of diseases called Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers; they have similar signs and symptoms.

“For it to get to Nigeria, an infected person has to come to Nigeria; through our borders; just like Mr Sawyer did in 2014, travelling through our airport from Liberia.

“The Nigerian government, with support from partners like World Health Organisation (WHO), is currently strengthening the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Port Health Department of the Federal Ministry of Health.

“This is to enable them effectively screen persons entering Nigeria through air, land and sea ports,’’ he said.

Lawal said that capacity of most Nigerian communities was also being built to ensure that symptoms of the disease are detected and reported without delay.

He added that hundreds of Disease Surveillance and Notification Officers (DSNOs) have been posted to all local government areas in the country.

“On a continuous process, the capacities of almost all communities are being built to report any unusual disease or health related occurrence. Same applies to health workers.

“We have 780 DSNOs, one for each LGA and the six Area Councils in the Federal Capital Territory, to coordinate activities at the LGA level.

“This is to ensure that everyone knows, if they “see something’’ health related, who they should “say something’’ to,’’ he said.

The epidemiologist said that all health facilities, pharmacies and patent medicine stores within each LGA had contacts of DSNOs posted to their localities to be used for emergency notification when the need arise.

“That is the disease notification that is in place, not just for Ebola or Lassa fever, but all notifiable diseases,’’ he said.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is grappling with an Ebola scourge, which has claimed many lives.

The scourge in DRC necessitated her neighbours, as well as other African countries, including Nigeria, to take precautionary measures to prevent the disease from entering their countries.

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