BY; VICTORIA OJEME
ABUJA – President Goodluck Jonathan Monday described late Patrick Sawyer actions as pure ‘madness’ and craziness.
Jonathan made the statement at the annual Interfaith Conference in Abuja. The president who expressed his disappointment with the way and manner Sawyer brought Ebola to Nigeria assured citizens that government is ready to stop the disease.
“As a government, we promise that we will do everything humanly possible to contain the Ebola virus.
Jonathan informed the gathering that the federal government planned to rally the 36 states governors and their Commissioners of Health to rescue the nation from further spread of the disease.
“On Wednesday, I will meet with governor of the states, and they must come along with their commissioners of Health. We must make sure that every state is prepared, where they lack, the federal government will support them,”
The president said that his discussion with the head of WHO has given him more information about the virus assured the gathering that the virus will be stopped from causing more harm.
“My conversation with the WHO DG, Dr Margaret Chan was revealing, she said 60 per cent of the transmission was spread during burials. That is why in my announcement, I’ve been saying that people should be careful about burials.”
“Some people like burial ceremonies. This is not the time for burial ceremony, somebody is dead, he is dead, leave him there. This is not the best time for those ceremonies.”
“If he is dead, he is already dead, Sawyer that brought this Ebola to Nigeria; his sister died of Ebola. And he started acting somehow, his country asked him not to leave the country, let them observe him, but the crazy man decided to leave and found his way here.”
Meanwhile, the federal government Monday said one new case was recorded over the weekend, bringing the number to 10.
Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu stated this Monday in a press conference on the update of the Ebola Virus Disease(EVD).
Chukwu, said “it has been 22 days since EVD first landed in Nigeria. As at today, 177 primary and secondary contacts of the index case have been placed under surveillance or isolation. 9 developed EVD, bringing the total number of cases in Nigeria to 10. Of these 10, 2 have died (the Liberian American and the Nigerian nurse) while 8 are alive and currently on treatment.”
The minister alongside Minister of Environment, Mrs Laurentia Mallam, Interior Minister, Abba Moro, Special Duties Minister, Tanimu Turaki and Minister of Information, Labaran Maku stated that “Nigeria wishes to emphasize that, it essentially remained an Ebola Virus free country until this incidence of importation and unfortunate contamination. We will continue to work with all stakeholders, local and international partners to maximize on this and intensify efforts to contain and treat the existing cases.”
Citing efforts to stop the spread of the virus in the West African sub-region, Chukwu said government role at the recent meeting in Accra, Ghana projected Nigeria’s “leading, pioneering and compassionate role during the summit with the first and only donation of 3.5Million USD humanitarian and capacity building aid to the three affected countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, the West African Health Organization (WAHO), and the ECOWAS Ebola Fund.”
Chukwu said the “Liberian Government has expressed its deepest sympathies and regrets that Mr. Sawyer had even embarked on this tragic journey, which has brought needless sufferings, death and has placed an unnecessary stress on our health system. In the same spirit, we share in solidarity, the grief of the governments and people of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone as we confront this challenge together.”
The minister further urged Nigerians not to see Liberia and her citizens in bad light considering the harmonious relationship the two countries have had over the years.
“The government of Nigeria, shall continue to discharge its responsibilities within the sub region as we collectively confront and stop this outbreak of Ebola.”
He however, told journalists that aside from working with the US government on how to assist, government was also looking at other options in terms of drugs that could revive Ebola patients.
He said Nigeria’s quest to get hold of drugs that will bring relief to Ebola patients is “still work-in-progress” adding that, healthcare workers entrusted with providing care to patients have been given Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as measure to prevent them from contracting the virus.
Chukwu who stated that the Ebola virus still remained restricted to Lagos State also reiterated the resolve of the federal government to find a solution to the lingering crisis between it and the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), especially the need to call off the nationwide strike.
The minister was more optimistic that the crisis will be settled soon, but maintained that “the NMA strike is not affecting the treatment of Ebola patients.”