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5 Reasons Nigerians should worry about resurgence of Ebola

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By Sola Ogundipe

It is a year today that Nigeria recorded its first ever case of  the Ebola Virus Disease, EVD. Now with the resurgence of the virus in Sierra leone and Liberia, here are  five reasons Nigerians should worry about the the scourge before we witness another outbreak. 

1) Unreliable epidemic alert mechanism

The response and alert systems put in place during the 2014 outbreak have either been dismantled or are dormant. Currently there is nothing on ground to detect if a traveller with Ebola arrives at any of the nation’s ports of entry. No screening processes exist for travellers living in, or visiting any of the nations currently battling Ebola.

2) Lack of robust health system

The nation’s health system is generally unable to cope with an epidemic of the calibre of Ebola. It is plagued by poor service delivery, weak infrastructure, lack of up-to-date equipment, shortage of medical personnel, etc., and in many areas, access to basic medical resources is lacking.

A seller of bananas walks past a slogan painted on a wall reading "Ebola" in Monrovia on August 31, 2014. Liberia on August 30, 2014 said it would deny permission for any crew to disembark from ships at the country's four seaports until the Ebola epidemic ravaging west Africa was under control. AFP PHOTO
File: A seller of bananas walks past a slogan painted on a wall reading “Ebola” in Monrovia on August 31, 2014. Liberia on August 30, 2014

3) Shortage of competent medical personnel

Most health personnel that responded during the 2014 Ebola outbreak were volunteers. To date, only a handful of doctors and nurses in public and private hospitals have acquired advanced medical expertise or relevant knowledge about the quarantine procedures, treatment or preventing the spread of Ebola infection

4) Poor disease prevention culture

The culture of personal hygiene, particularly hand washing with soap and water, use of hand sanitizers, fever monitors, etc., has long been abandoned.

5) There is still no cure

There still isn’t really any way to treat Ebola. Although some promising drugs are on the horizon and researchers are working on various preventative and therapeutic vaccines, the only real remedy currently available in Nigeria is palliative support for any potentially infected individual.

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