The Nigerian Medical Association on Monday faulted the Federal Government’s directive to schools to resume on September 22 as against October 12. It said through its National Secretary-General, Dr. Olawunmi Alayaki, that all schools ought to remain shut till all those under surveillance for the Ebola Virus Disease in the country had been certified free.
“We are not happy with this decision on the resumption of schools. Schools should be shut till the last suspected case or patient is certified free of the virus,” the NMA said.
Before the association made this known the Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Sampson Parker, had disclosed that an 18 month-old baby had been quarantined in the state for showing symptoms of the deadly virus.
The NMA suggested that the resumption of schools could be shifted till December or early part of next year because if Ebola should spread to any school, it would “assume another dimension.”
It said, “ We can shift the resumption date till next year or in the next three months if that is the time it will take. Government should have enough time to follow the standard procedure for containing the virus.
“Parents have no reason to be in a hurry because if Ebola should enter any school, it will assume another dimension. Children cannot survive isolation like adults.
“Nigeria is peculiar because of her large population and we should be pragmatic and proactive. It will not augur well for the country if we have another outbreak due to carelessness.”
Also, the Lagos State chapter of NMA said that the Federal Government should have postponed the resumption date till the completion of surveillance and monitoring of contacts in the affected states.
It said through its chairman, Dr. Tope Ojo, that many of the public and private schools in the country lacked basic hygiene and sanitary facilities that could help prevent the spread of the EVD by pupils.
It stated, “It would not have cost the Federal Government anything to have waited till those under surveillance have completed the 21 days in all the states where they are being monitored.
“The government knows that it takes a longer time for children to get used to the idea of hygiene and sanitation. They are even more vulnerable because they would play with each other whether they are sick or not.
“How many children know that they should use hand sanitisers or avoid contact with anybody that has fever?
“Waiting till October when at least the situations in Rivers and Lagos states would have been conclusively managed is another safety measure the government should have taken.
These kids are not studying to get a degree, so we are sure it would not have affected schools’ curricula.”