by Paul Osas
Concerned Nigerian youths under the aegis of Health Advocacy Promotion and Partnership by Youths in Nigeria (HAPPY Nigeria) has called on the Federal Government to intensify its preventive measures in the fight against the deadly Ebola disease.
The body issued a ten-point call-to-action to sustain and enhance the preventive measures already being taken by the Nigerian government:
In a statement signed by its executive director, Dr. Femi Akinwumi, the group noted that, “HAPPYNigeria recognises and commends the efforts being made by the government to halt spread of the virus both within the country and across West Africa. We hereby issue in good faith the following ten-point call-to-action to sustain and enhance the preventive measures already being taken by the Nigerian government:”
The call-to-action reads below
1. Assemble an Ebola task force comprising of scientists (epidemiologists, laboratory scientists, infectious disease physicians, etc), public officials, and civil society leaders to put together and implement an immediate national response plan. This task force should work hand-in-hand with the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Federal Ministry of Health.
2. Continue the national public health campaign to sensitise health workers and the general public on signs and symptoms of the disease and appropriate actions in suspected cases.
3. Issue travel alerts for Nigerians regarding travel to countries with burgeoning outbreaks.
4. Establish a monitoring system for Nigerians living in the worst affected countries and establish an evacuation and quarantine plan.
5. Conduct a rigorous contact tracing and thorough investigation on people that came in contact with the Late Patrick Sawyer. Do the same for the unnamed Nigerian whose corpse was returned from Liberia and placed in a morgue in Nigeria in July 2014, and also ascertain a definitive cause of death in this case.
6. Resolve, without further delay, the ongoing impasse with doctors to ensure a viable health workforce that can combat any eventualities.
7. Address, as an emergency, the deficient infection control policies, infrastructure, and processes in Nigerian health facilities.
8. Heighten border control and disease surveillance at our land borders, most importantly the Lagos-Seme border, and at all international airports in the country.
9. Call an ECOWAS regional health summit to develop an aggressive regional response, including a temporary suspension of the ECOWAS treaty on free movement of persons until the epidemic is stemmed.
10. Strengthen the national disease surveillance and epidemic response system in Nigeria.