The Edo State Government has finally responded to the outbreak of the Ebola virus in the country by setting up a Rapid Response Committee to prevent the spread of the deadly disease to the state.
According to a report published on P.M.NEWS, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. (Mrs.) Aihanuwa Eregie formally inaugurated the committee on Monday, 18 August, 2014.
Speaking at the occasion, Eregie, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr. Peter Ugbodaga, said the committee is one of the largest committees ever set up by the state government, adding that, it was an indication of the seriousness and importance attached to curtailing the spread of Ebola in the state.
“You will agree with me that since the unfortunate importation of the deadly Ebola virus disease by the American-Liberian, Dr. Patrick Sawyer on the 20 July 2014, the disease has been declared a serious national emergency requiring all hands to be on the deck to prevent, control and isolate our unfortunate brothers and sisters that are down with the illness. This committee is a critical step in the prevention, control, isolation and treatment of cases of the disease,” she said.
The commissioner stated that membership of the committee was carefully chosen to reflect the diversity in unity and strength to tackle the enormous challenge posed by Ebola disease, adding that the committee was set up to create awareness on the seriousness and the contagious nature of the deadly disease.
It was gathered that the committee was made up of representatives from the state Ministries of Health, Environment, Women Affairs, Local Government, Education, University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Medical Association, the state Traditional Medicine Borad, the DSS and others.
Terms of reference of the committee include review and approve the epidemic preparedness and response plan, mobilise resources for epidemic prevention and control, coordinate and monitor control activities during outbreaks, including information dissemination to the public and media, and others.
Also speaking at the inauguration of the committee, the state commissioner for information, Louis Odion, solicited for collaboration by the media in dissemination of correct information to members of the public.
“Ebola is not a death sentence. We don’t have any Ebola case in the state, but the governor insisted that we set up this committee to be on the safe side,” he said.
In his presentation, Director, Edo State Hospital Service, Dr. Osamwuyi Irowa, said the inauguration of the Committee was apt, in view of the strategic location of the state and the hospitable nature of the people of the state.
It would be recalled that the Nigerian Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, on Saturday, August 16, 2014, said the first Nigerian confirmed to have contracted the Ebola virus had been discharged after full recovery.
Chukwu also informed that five other Ebola patients have almost fully recovered. He revealed that the number of confirmed Ebola cases in the country had risen to 12.
According to him, four people have so far died of the dreaded disease in Nigeria while 189 persons are under surveillance in Lagos, and six in Enugu State.