The Federal Executive Council on Wednesday directed the Ministry of Health to step up surveillance at all the nation’s entry points to prevent the spread of Ebola to the country following the outbreak of the virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, disclosed this to State House correspondents at the end of the council’s meeting presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Adewole said, “Of great concern to the FEC is the outbreak of Ebola in DR Congo. As you might be aware, over the last one month, DRC recorded 19 suspected cases of viral haemorrhagic fever and lost 16 of the cases.
“What is also particularly important was that on Monday, blood samples from five patients in the DRC, particularly in a particular district in the DRC, were taken. In two of the five cases, Ebola was actually confirmed.
“FEC has now directed the Ministry of Health to step up emergency surveillance activities at all land and air borders so that we can keep Nigerians safe.”
He also disclosed that an emergency operation centre would be set up.
“Not only that, we will be screening incoming passengers, particularly passengers from the DRC and neigbouring countries. We will also ensure we step up all activities screening people coming in so that we will not be caught unawares.
“The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control will also consider sending a team to the DRC as part of building capacity for managing the outbreak. We want to assure Nigerians that the Federal Government is concerned about the outbreak and will do everything possible to keep the country safe,” he added.
Adewole also said he presented an update on the state of public health in the country to the council.
“We reported on the situation with Lassa fever and declared that we are declaring the emergency phase of Lassa fever outbreak over.
“Essentially, that implies that the emergency operating centre would be stood down. Instead of meeting every day throughout the country, they will now meet once a week. They will still continue surveillance so that if there are cases anywhere in the country, we can quickly detect it and then treat it appropriately,” he said.