The Federal Ministry of Health in conjunction with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has constituted an Ebola Preparedness Working Group (EPWG) as a pro-active measure against the outbreak of Ebola.
The Ebola virus was introduced into Nigeria on 20 July 2014 when an infected Liberian diplomat arrived by aeroplane into Lagos, Africa’s most populous city. The man, who died in hospital 5 days later, set off a chain of transmission that infected a total of 19 people, of whom 7 died.
Therefore, the working group has been given the responsibility to strengthen prevention and prepare for any potential re-introduction of the virus into Nigeria.
This measure became necessary as the deadly virus have been reported by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The EPWG which is an idea of the Nigerian Health minister, Prof. Isaac Adewole, is also set to reaffirm the promise of the health ministry to Nigerians that the government is on top of the situation and the citizenry have no cause to panic.
According to The Nations, NCDC convened an emergency meeting with representatives from the Department of Public Health and Port Health Services of the Federal Ministry of Health, World Health Organisation (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United States (U.S.) Centre for Disease Control, the African Field Epidemiology Network and the University of Maryland, Baltimore, U.S. to guide the country’s preparedness activities.
The risk of introduction of the Ebola virus into Nigeria is considered to be highest through its air and land borders.
Therefore, Port Health authorities have been advised to intensify existing screening procedures at ports of entry with first responder teams being put on alert.