It has been one year since the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared Nigeria free of Ebola Virus Disease but the federal government has not forgotten the efforts of Dr Stella Adadevoh of First Consultant Hospital in Lagos and other partners who made the success story possible.
Adadevoh was the doctor who helped to stop the spread of Ebola in Nigeria by insisting on strict isolation of the index case, Patrick Sawyer, but later died after contracting the virus.
In a press briefing yesterday on the first anniversary of declaration of Nigeria as Ebola-free, the permanent secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health, Mr. Linus Awute, said the response to the outbreak, which brought together the finest hands in the control, showed the true capacity of Nigeria.
Awute said, “The sacrifices of the late Dr. Adadevoh, the entire team at First Consultant Hospital in Lagos, all health workers and their family members dead and alive, remain one we shall forever cherish.”
He added that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) will soon establish a survival clinic in collaboration with tertiary health institutions to address the issue of relapse in survival.
“Since Nigeria was declared Ebola-free, the global Ebola control environment has changed based on new evidence around care for Ebola in pregnancy, survivors’ related symptoms, discovery of Ebola vaccine, relapse of the disease and most recently, evidence of sexual transmission of the disease by survivors carrying the virus in their semen and vaginal secretions,” he noted.
According to Awute, these recent developments have changed Nigeria’s understanding of the clinical and epidemiological characteristics of Ebola and posed stronger challenge to all countries that have these survivors in their thousands and also signify that the fight is far from being over.
“We have, therefore, held on to the fact that Nigeria’s Ebola freedom is not going to be full celebration until the transmission of the disease in the human population reaches zero in West Africa,” he added.
Nigeria was declared free of Ebola on 20th October, 2014 by the WHO, which makes that date a special date for public health practitioners in the country and indeed, other followers of global health developments around the world.
Awute said it was a feat that contributed to the preservation of Global Health Security, contrary to the heavy skepticism experienced locally and internationally when the virus struck Nigeria.

By: Victor Okeke
Leadership News


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