The House of Representatives on Tuesday, raised the alarm over a possible recurrence of the ebola epidemic in the country, urging the federal ministry of health to deploy necessary materials and personnel at the airports, seaports and land borders to screen passengers.
Besides, the House has urged the federal government to set aside funds for the management of Ebola virus in the event of its reccurrence in Nigeria.
The House also mandated its committees on health care services and health institutions, to ensure that relevant agencies, take precautionary measures to avert the reoccurrence of the disease.
The resolution followed the adoption of a motion brought by Hon. Paschal Chigozie Obi (PDP-Anambra), in which he expressed fear at the likely fresh outbreak of Ebola in the country.
Leading debate on the motion, Obi noted that the recent outbreak of Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in March, 2019 where more than 1000 cases of Ebola infections were reported.
He recalled that “in 2014, the Ebola epidemic spread to some West African countries such as Guinea, Sierra-Leone, Liberia and then to Nigeria, when a Liberian, Mr. Patrick Sawyer, arrived Lagos by airplane and infected many Nigerians, including doctors and nurses”.
The lawmaker reminded the House that “the virus quickly spread to different parts of Nigeria, causing up to 50% death rate of infected people. Conscious of different measures by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to curtail the menace of Ebola, ranging from issuing an alert to Airline Operators directing them to ensure a high level of vigilance and ensure that proper checks were carried out on passengers and other relevant measures such as providing sanitizers and clinical equipment, where necessary.
“Also conscious of steps taken by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on August 8, 2019 to sensitize the public by declaring Ebola outbreak a public health emergency of international concern and also raising the alarm on the need for nations to take preventive actions against the possible further outbreak of Ebola virus”, he stated.
He commended the federal government for its efforts in tackling the menace of the Ebola disease in 2014, notwithstanding the ravaging force it came with.
He, however, expressed worry that given the proximity of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to Nigeria and other West Africa countries, “if necessary measures are not put in place to prevent the reoccurrence of the pandemic in a densely populated country like Nigeria, the impact may worsen and become difficult to curb”
According to him, “aside the airport rout which gave access to the initial outbreak of Ebola in Nigeria, there are other routes such as sea ports and land borders which enables entry into Nigeria, hence, the need for precautionary measures to be extended to the sea ports and land borders”
In a related development, the House has also urged President Muhammadu Buhari to recognise the heroic acts of patriotism of Dr. Stella Ameyo Adadevoh, who died fighting against ebola virus and her medical team and confer a befitting posthumous national honour on her.
It equally urged the federal ministry of health to assess and certify Nigeria’s emergency preparedness against unexpected epidemics.
In adopting a motion brought by Hon. Akiolu Moshood Kayode (APC-Lagos), the House called on the federal ministry of education and other related authorities to ensure the inclusion of the heroic deeds of Dr. Adadevoh and other such national heroes in the country’s civic education curricula to build spirit of patriotism and nationalism in the young ones.
It further urged the federal government to recognise and provide every support necessary for Ebola virus survivors and the families of Ebola victims, and mandated the committee on health care services to ensure compliance. Nigeria News