By Imanuel Jannah
ABUJA—Former President Goodluck Jonathan has advised the Brazilian government on how best to tackle the Zika virus epidemic threatening the Olympic Games coming up in the South American country August. Jonathan gave the advice in an article he wrote for the Daily Independent newspapers in the United Kingdom. He noted that the Zika virus’ threat was reminiscent of the cloud cast by Ebola.
Drawing from his experience as Nigeria’s leader when Ebola virus struck, Jonathan told the government of Brazil to act decisively, make all the necessary funds available, and tell the public every step of the way exactly how it was. He said when Ebola virus first hit Nigeria, he was aware of the responsibility that had befallen him, adding that he first established a command centre in Lagos to trace all 177 of Sawyer’s primary, secondary and tertiary contacts, and put them under surveillance.
Jonathan added that he then drew up a plan that saw him release N1.9 billion to the Health Ministry to control the disease. Jonathan said he also banned the movement of corpses from one place to another, and discouraged religious leaders from holding gatherings for large crowds. He said he further went on television to address the nation, and called a four hour meeting with 36 state governors of the federation, their heath commissioners and the Federal Capital Minister and his health secretary.
According to the article, Jonathan said he also held lengthy discussions with UNICEF, Doctors Without Borders, and World Health Organisation, Director General, Margaret Chan. Jonathan’s article read: “In many ways we faced similar problems to those encountered by the government of Brazil as it battles to contain the Zika virus.