US: Nigeria Has Been Fantastic in Curbing Ebola Spread

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*4 more survivors discharged from hospital

The United State on Monday gave Nigeria a pat-on-the-back over the latter’s efforts at curbing the spread of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) imported into the country by Liberian-American, Patrick Sawyer, who died of the disease two weeks ago in Lagos.

The US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, gave the commendation in Abuja while on a visit to the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu.

The envoy said the aim of the visit was to discuss further on the anti-Ebola cooperation between the U.S government and the Nigerian government.

The ambassador also praised the work done at the emergency operation centre and the isolation centre, saying he understood that they were working hard.

“You have all seen the headlines over the weekend, this is an issue that we have to keep working hard on, it may be with us for a while but there are some encouraging signs.

“Your government is doing a good job on contact tracing; I noticed when I flew back here on Thursday night into the country, before I left the plane I filed in the questionnaire.

“I was very impressed because I had to put in my seat number which is a very good idea, so that if you have to trace the guy who was seating next to me you will know where I am.

“I have been very impressed by this thing so I encourage the government of Nigeria to keep at it, which I know they will,’’ he said.

 Entwistle said the two countries had a broad partnership to keep collaborating, cooperating and working hard to make the world a better place.

He said he could not think of a more important example of cooperation than the Ebola cooperation.

On the U.S experimental drug on Ebola, Entwistle said there were no sufficient quantity for now to be given to Nigeria, therefore, the focus should be on isolation, screening and prevention.

Earlier, the Minister had said that the ambassador’s visit was an opportunity to share ideas and information on Ebola virus.

“He is the spokesperson for the United States’ government here in Nigeria, and so he came to me as the Chief Public Health Officer of the country to exchange views with me,’’ he said.

The minister said Entwistle also visited to know if there was any new development that recently cropped up on the Ebola virus.

Chukwu also said the Federal government was withholding its approval for the Anti-Ebola drug Nano-Silver produced by a Nigerian because of some observed deficiencies with it.

He said that the Nano Silver drug, which was made available to the Emergency Operations Centre in Lagos on Aug. 14, did not meet basic research requirements.

“The experimental drug, Nano Silver did not meet the requirements of the National Health Research Ethics Code.

“Accordingly, the approval was withheld by the National Health Research Ethics Committee,” Chukwu said.

Meanwhileanother set of four Nigerians infected with the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) survived the attack and have been discharged from the Isolation Centre in Lagos.

This brings to five the number of infected Nigerians that have so far been discharged from the Isolation Centre after subsequent tests carried out on them proved negative.

Briefing newsmen on Monday evening at the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba, Lagos on the new development, Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris confirmed that four more people who survived the disease were discharged on Monday.

He said out of the eight people in the Isolation Centre, one was released on Sunday while four would be released today (Monday), making it five people that had so far survived the disease, adding that only three patients were now remaining at the centre.

Idris said so far, 12 people were confirmed infected with Ebola in Nigeria, including the index case and three Nigerians that had died of the disease, leaving eight people at the centre out of which five had been discharged.

The commissioner explained that before Ebola patient could be discharged, such a person must have been symptom-free for three days and tested negative to the disease in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO) standard..

He said the four patients  discharged were symptom-free for three days and tested negative to the disease.

Idris added that the patients discharged would have to be coming for periodic check-up.

He disclosed three new  suspected Ebola cases were being monitored and placed on surveillance to see if they would devclop symptom of the disease.

Idris said two of the new suspected cases were from Lagos and had primary contact with the late Patrick Sawyer while the other one was a sample brought in from Kaduna to be tested as there was no testing facility in Kaduna State.

He aslo said currently, eight doctors, nine nurses and some health workers, fully trained who attend to patients at the Isolation Centre.

“We have infectious disease experts who have joined them from LASU. The training of people to work at the centre is rigorous. If you go into the Isolation Centre, you cannot come out from the door you came in, you exit through another doorn,” he said.

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