Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, yesterday, gave insight into how the government was able to contain the out-break of Ebola Virus Disease, EVD, even as he said Nigeria needed to assist neighbouring countries still battling to contain the EVD pandemic..
The governor spoke at the fourth Lagos Corporate Assembly tagged; ?BRF meets Business? at the Lekki Free Zone, Ibeju-Lekki Local Government.
He said ?They (Nigeria?s EVD victims) would have died in vain if we surrender to the virus. They are heroes and they must be appropriately recognised. We must continue to push forward in the fight against it. There is still problem in Liberia, Sierra Leone and others. Their population is not what we have in Nigeria especially in Lagos State. For Lagos alone, the capacity of the state encompasses many of those countries affected by the virus.?
The governor noted that the country should be considering how it would assist the countries still battling with the virus, noting ?to help them solve their crisis using the method that we have applied here. That is the leadership role Nigeria should be playing on EVD at the moment.?
According to him, this should be part of the post Ebola activities because ?we have the fifth largest economy in Africa.?
On the strategy used by the state, the governor said ?Without the Public health law which was passed in 2002, we would have been in trouble. This was one of the things our partners asked immediately they arrived. The law gives the state the opportunity to arrest anyone whose health constitutes danger to others. When we said yes, they were happy and they said that was where they started their work. Without the law, we could not have achieved what we did.
?When cremation law was passed few years ago, some residents kicked against it. We said it was not compulsory. But if Lagos wants to retain its status and achieve more, the law is needed. The law caters for foreigners that cremating is part of their life style. We did not foresee Ebola but the laws became a veritable tool for us to curtail the spread of the virus because corpses are more dangerous than the carrier of the virus. Other states are now going to the parliament to seek the passage of the law.?
Meanwhile as part of measures for protection of pupils, the state government has stressed the need for stakeholders in the education sector to be knowledgeable on management of the risks associated with EVD and apply it accordingly when schools resumes next week Monday.
Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye, at a sensitization meeting yesterday, with Tutors-General/Permanent Secretaries of all the six education districts in the state, the Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), and Permanent Secretary, Teachers? Establishment and Pensions Office, TEPO, explained that the sensitization meeting was in furtherance of measures to curtail the spread of EVD among pupils and students in the state.
She said principals of public schools from the six education districts as well as education secretaries and head teachers of public schools in the state would be sensitized on the management of the risks associated with the disease today at the NUT Pavilion, Central Business Districts, CBD, Alausa, while private schools? proprietors would also be sensitized tomorrow, also at the NUT Pavilion, Ikeja.
According to Oladunjoye, environmental and personal hygiene measures such as the training and sensitization of students, vendors, teachers and non academic staff on the virus and how to avoid it would be re-emphasized for compliance.
She said ?We shall also tell them to identify an EVD Focal Officer in each of the school who will be responsible for surveillance and health monitoring as well as the provision of adequate environmental sanitation, including clean toilets and premises in their school.?
The meeting, the commissioner said, would also dwell on the provision of running water and soap and the encouragement of frequent hand washing among students and pupils and the arrangement of prompt referral of any sick person to the nearest health institution for treatment.
Pyrates Confraternity cautions
Meantime, National Association of Seadogs, a.k.a Pyrates Confraternity has called on the Federal Government to rethink its decision to reopen schools earlier than the initially scheduled date of late October.
NAS? leader worldwide, Prince Ifeanyi Onochie, in a statement said: ?The association regretted the decision by the Federal Government of Nigeria to reopen all schools in the country by September 22nd, 2014 as that which amounts to throwing caution to the winds in the face of the good efforts that have hitherto gone into the containment of the EVD outbreak in Nigeria.?
The association while commending the roles played by the federal government and Lagos State government in trying to contain the virus, wondered why after the federal government?s commendable reaction to the danger posed by EVD, after the meeting of the National Council on Health, announced the closure of all public and private schools until October 13th, would now want to reverse itself.