Nigeria well prepared against possible outbreak of Ebola, says minister

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The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, on Wednesday gave an assurance that Nigeria is well prepared against possible outbreak of the Ebola virus in the country.

He said the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, had directed that activities be stepped up at the nation’s borders.

Adewole spoke while briefing State House correspondents of the outcome of the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council presided over by Osinbajo.

He said there was an implication for the outbreak recorded in Democratic Republic of Congo because a single case would enable government trigger a public health alert.

The minister said, “For us as a country, we need to now step up. Fortunately for us, Ebola is not indigenous to Nigeria. For us to have Ebola outbreak in Nigeria, it is has to be imported.

“And so, what we need to do is to step up preparedness at all our borders: land, sea and air, to ensure that we could quickly identify a probable case, offer additional screening and quarantine so that we do not get Nigerians with ebola.

“The Acting President directed that we should step up all activities at the border points and I did visit the port health services at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja to confirm that surveillance activities are ongoing.

“We have constituted an Ebola preparedness working group chaired by chaired Dr. Basanyi who actually led the Nigerian contingent to Liberia for the Ebola control programme.

“We are quite happy about what is ongoing. We have also revamped some of the activities of our central laboratory so that they can make diagnosis on the spot.”

On the recent meningitis outbreak, Adewole said the number of new cases had been reducing in the last five weeks.

“We are happy that we are getting almost to the end of the outbreak. Our main challenge is how to handle those already infected and so, we have two medical teams in the two states mostly affected: Zamfara and Sokoto States,” he added.