Nigeria has successfully reduced the number of Ebola cases in the country to one, the Minister of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu, has said.
As of Tuesday, only one Ebola patient remained in isolation in Nigeria, down from the 13 cases the country confirmed since the outbreak of the virus in July, Mr. Chukwu said at a press conference. The deadly virus was first brought to Nigeria 38 days ago by a Liberian-American man, Patrick Sawyer.
Mr. Sawyer later died, but after health workers who treated him had contracted the virus. Mr. Chukwu said so far Nigeria has had 13 cases including the index case. Five of those infected died, while seven have successfully recovered and were discharged.
Two of the nurses who managed Mr. Sawyer were discharged Monday at the isolation centre in Lago, Mr. Chukwu said. He said Nigeria has been able to curtail Ebola in the country.
Five deaths were recorded, all of them got the virus from contracts with the index ? Sawyer. Among them is Dr. Stella Adadevoh, a consultant with the First Consultant Hospital, who reviewed Sawyer?s case and prevented him from being discharged after his Ebola status was established.
Lagos State Health Commissioner Dr. Jide Idris, also yesterday denied rumours on the social media that Dr. Adadevoh?s sister had contracted the EVD.
?She tested negative,? he insisted and admonished Nigerians against rumour mongering.
Dr. Idris said three those who died from the virus were cremated (including Sawyer). The other two were buried in line with the World Health organization (WHO) specification.
The Federal Government also yesterday extended the reopening of schools ? public and private ? to October 13 to prevent the spread of Ebola.
Schools were scheduled to resume in the second week of next month.
The only patient being treated now, according to the Health Minister?s update, signed by his aide Mr. Dan Nwomeh, is a secondary contact, whose spouse was of one of the physicians who participated in the management of the Liberian.
He said: ?As I speak to you, Nigeria has only one confirmed case of EVD?.
She is stable but still on treatment at the Isolation ward in Lagos.
?So far, all the reported cases of the EVD in Nigeria have their root in the index case, the late Mr. Sawyer. This is an indication that, thus far, Nigeria has contained the disease outbreak.
?I wish to reassure Nigerians and indeed the global community that the government shall remain vigilant and will not relent as government continues to work with her partners to ensure that the disease is kept out of the country.?
The Minister added that 129 persons had been freed from surveillance, having passed through the 21 days incubation period for the virus without testing positive.
Similarly, 128 persons are still within the radar of government for the virus, the Minister added. ?All those who are under our surveillance, only one person is symptomatic; we are investigating, the result is not out. All others are not symptomatic,? the Minister stated.
?As of today, 26th August, 2014, Nigeria has had thirteen (13) cases of EVD including the index case.
?Of these thirteen (13), five (5), including the index case unfortunately did not survive the disease and are now dead.
?However, seven (7) of the infected persons were successfully managed at the Isolation ward in Lagos and have been discharged.
Two (2) of the treated patients, a male doctor and a female nurse, were discharged yesterday evening, 25th August, 2014, having satisfied the criteria for discharge.?
The minister also debunked the insinuation that the sister of Dr Stella Adadevoh who died of Ebola virus had tested positive to the virus. He said: ?She is negative.?
On the N1.9 billion approved by President Goodluck Jonathan, to fight the Ebola battle, he explained: ?We did say that the N1.9billion that the President approved was for the Federal Ministry of Health. That fund was provided based on the budget that the Federal Ministry of Health submitted to Mr. President. It was not termed an Ebola fund.
?I repeat, because now I hear that in some places, even village heads are asking for their own share. Nigeria is always thinking of sharing money. It is money for the Federal Ministry of Health to use in working. They are going to use it to procure more vehicles; which have already been ordered.
?They are going to use it to procure more personal protective equipment which have already been ordered. They are going to use it to provide isolation tents, which again have been ordered, including drugs which will be used to support the patients. It is a budget for the Federal Ministry of Health and its agencies as submitted by the Federal Ministry of Health to Mr. President.
?What I am saying is that there will still be other funds that will be released in various ways depending on what any of the cognate agencies is requesting from Mr. President.
?Now, in the case of Lagos State, after the President met with governors and their Commissioners for Health, it was clear, even from the statement made by the Lagos State governor, that Lagos State is also under pressure because many of the workers we are using are in Lagos State. We can?t shortly go and start recruiting people. We work with the state. It is just that in every epidemic, the Federal Government with the Minister of Health in the front, takes control of epidemic. It is not a state government matter.
?But, we use state personnel as well as local government personnel; our partners are part of it. But, the leader of the team is the Minister of Health.
?So, Lagos State government has been spending money. They pay salary to staff; they?ve been recruiting more staff. They give these staff incentive. They provided the isolation ward. But, we led and decided who should work there. The minister of health created the teams that are working.?
Dr. Idris added: ?We have listed 331 contacts from day one, out of these, we followed up 159 who have been discharged. 158 contacts are currently being followed up.?
He said a woman whose case led to the closure of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Clinic in Lagos, tested negative and had since been discharged.
Idris said eight doctors,nine nurses and other volunteers working in various capacity are fully involved in attending to patients at the isolation centre.
He said the government has a special life insurance cover for them.
Asked about the N200million released by the Federal Government, Idris said the state had not received the cash, adding that the delay could be as a result of the processes involved in fund disbursement.
?As at this morning, we have not received any fund from the Federal Government, but we understand that the process of releasing money go through processes and we are hoping to receive it soon.
On the re-opening of First Consultant Hospital, he said there is the need to carry out a complete decontamination of equipment in the hospital, adding that once this is completed, the hospital will reopen for use.
?This strain of Ebola virus imported into the state by the late Liberian Patrick Sawyer is one out of five. If anybody gets this strain, and is discharged, the chances of having it again is almost impossible, but they could be re infected by other four strains.?
National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples? Democratic Party, Chief Olisa Metuh, donated N1 million to help contain the virus.
He said: ?This is the first time in the history of our country that our elected and appointed people and leaders have risen to the great challenge we are facing. I want to commend the health workers for the risk they have taken, their commitment, their dedication to their duties in assisting the entire populace to completely be ready for this challenge.