Africa?s richest man and philanthropist Aliko Dangote has boosted Nigeria?s battle against the deadly Ebola with a N152, 956, 250 donation.
The money donated through the Dangote Foundation is for the establishment of a National Ebola Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) at Yaba, Lagos.
The EOC is a key part of Nigeria?s response to the outbreak of Ebola on its shores. It is headed by Dr Faisal Shuaib, a U.S.-trained public health expert with extensive international experience. It serves as the engine room of the national response, providing the coordinating mechanism for prevention, surveillance, patient care, tracking, data analysis and containment of the spread of the virus. It also facilitates the coordination of partners, serving as a platform to link to the medical community across the country and also internationally, especially with the countries also battling the virus in West Africa.
Minister of Health Dr. Onyebuchi Chukwu said: ?The Ebola EOC ensures that government continues to provide the necessary leadership and a transparent platform for the coordination and collaboration which are essential for us to stay on top of this crisis. We are delighted that Alhaji Aliko Dangote has once again stood up to be counted when it matters.
?The national response to the unfortunate outbreak of Ebola in our country has been impressive. The few cases of Ebola Virus Disease, all contracted from the index case, are confined to one state only.?
Dangote said: ?This is a period of national health emergency and government?s comprehensive containment strategy requires the support of all Nigerians to succeed. We have therefore decided to lend our support to the effort. The Ebola EOC is an important innovation that will strengthen our health system, even long after this particular health crisis has abated.?
He called on Nigerians to be careful about their personal hygiene and not to be shy to approach health providers if they, or anyone near them, show symptoms of the disease.
?We encourage all well-meaning Nigerians to support government as the country rallies to combat the Ebola virus,? Dangote said. ?Our support is in line with our Foundation?s goal to improve the wellbeing of all Nigerians,? he said.
The WHO Country Representative for Nigeria, Dr. Rui Gama Vaz, said: ?Nigeria?s speedy detection of the index case, the immediate declaration of the outbreak, mounting a comprehensive containment strategy and plan supported by the Emergency Operation Centre in Lagos. We strongly believe that the EOC will have a tremendous impact in coordinating partners and pillar teams in their epidemic response work.?