In an attempt to keep Nigerians safe from Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday directed the Federal Ministry of Health to step up surveillance activities in the country.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, stated this when he briefed State House correspondents at the end of the council’s meeting chaired by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The minister said the council’s directive followed the reported reemergence of the disease in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
He said that the council had ordered that steps must be taken to keep the Ebola outbreak away from Nigeria, saying that part of the new measures to be taken would include screening of passengers coming into the country.
“Of course of great concern to the Federal Executive Council 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 hemorrhagic fever and lost 16 of the cases.
“But what is also particularly important was that on Monday, blood samples from five patients in the DRC, particularly in a particular district in DRC, two of the five cases, Ebola was actually confirmed.
“And, FEC has now directed the federal ministry of health to step up emergency surveillance activities at all land and airport borders, so that we can actually keep Nigerians safe.
“What we will do is to set up an emergency operation centre which will be chaired by Dr. Babasanya, who actually led our efforts in Liberia and Sierra Leone and Guinea during the outbreak in 2014.
“Not only that, we will be screening incoming passengers, particularly passengers from 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,’’ he said
According to him, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) will also consider sending some team to DRC as part of building capacity for managing the outbreak.