The Federal Government has asked every health official in the country to test every fever patient – showing symptoms of bleeding – for the Ebola Virus Disease. It also asked all port health officials to step up inspection of all persons coming into the country.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said this in a statement by the Director, Media and Public Relations, Mrs. Boade Akinola, on Saturday.
The statement came less than 24 hours after the World Health Organisation declared the outbreak of Ebola in Congo, describing the outbreak as “a public health crisis of international importance.”
The ministry of health said, “The health minister directs all Nigerian health workers to maintain a high index of suspicion by screening all hemorrhagic fever patients for Ebola
“Similarly, the minister encourages members of the public to observe a high level of personal hygiene which includes regular hand washing and to also report all cases of fever to the nearest health facility.”
The minister said he had directed health workers to increase efforts at ports of entry.
He added, “The Federal Government in response to the announcement by the WHO on confirmed cases of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has directed port health officials to step up inspection activities and to report any sick person or suspects to ensure that Epidemiologists in the states conduct relevant tests.
“The symptoms to look out for include: fever, fatigue, weakness dizziness and muscle aches. Patients with more severe cases show bleeding under the skin, internal organs or even from bodily orifices like mouth, nose and ears.”
The minister also urged Nigerians not to panic as the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control is on the ground and equipped to secure the health of citizens.
He said the CDC had for a while been strengthening states’ capacities to detect, manage and respond to hemorrhagic fevers including Lassa fever.
Adewole called on states to begin social mobilisation and media awareness efforts via television, radio, print and social media.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Medical Association has called on doctors nationwide to immediately report suspicious cases to the Federal Government.
The President of the NMA, Prof. Mike Ogirima, said doctors across the nation should begin to take precaution and report suspicious cases.
He said, “The Federal Government already has adequate experience on dealing with this because of the first outbreak so we advice them to consolidate.
“We also want to advise them to quickly set up and put in measures to prevent any case and even if by chance we have any case within the country, we should control the spread.
“We advise Nigerians to take care and stick to universal basic precautions such as regular washing of hands, avoid over-crowding, report suspicious cases immediately to the nearest health centre.
“We also advise our members all over the country to be on the alert and to make sure that they are well prepared and have the proper gadgets to face any challenge.”