FG Inaugurates Treatment Research Group for Ebola Disease In Nigeria
The Minister of Health, Prof..O.Onyebuchi Chukwu has inaugurated the Treatment Research Group(TRG) for Ebola Virus Disease(EVD) in Nigeria.
Inaugurating the treatment centre in Abuja Monday, the Minister said that the TRG for EVD is a response to the need to explore various treatment options for the Ebola virus disease.
The terms of reference of the Group among others include to research into the treatment of the EVD; to receive and verify claims relenting to the treatment of the disease and to collate and analyse related research findings from around the world.
The group is co-chaired by the Director-General of the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) Prf.J.K.Gmaliel and the Director-General of Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Yaba.
Other members include the Project Director of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the Director of Public Health, Federal Ministry of Health, Prof.Maurice Iwu(Professor of Pharmacognosy)who has been researching on the possibility of producing a drug for the treatment of EVD since 1999 and the Director, Department of Health Planning Research and Statistics.
Accordingly, the Treatment Research Group has the mandate to recruit the appropriate technical personnel from various agencies that will work with it.
The Minister announced the confirmation of the second case of EVD in Nigeria, this time a Nigerian health worker who attended to the index case-an American Liberian who is now deceased.
The patient is currently being treated in Lagos in one of the isolation facilities provided by the Lagos State Government.
Prof.Chukwu said that presently, there are eight persons under quarantine who are being investigated adding that others so far have tested negative.
As at the time of filing this report, a total of 70 persons who were primary contacts of the index case are under surveillance, a number that includes those under quarantine.
He said that Government is also strengthening the Technical Working Group(TWG) which includes the WHO and the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention(USDC) and the establishment of a 24/7 emergency operation centre for EVD in Lagos.
He said that the TWG will also facilitate the establishment of more isolation and Treatment Centres in Lagos State as well as in other states of the Federation in line with WHO guidelines.
The Minister also announced that an emergency meeting of the National Council on Health has been called for Monday, the 11th August 2014, to first, review the state of preparedness at the state level and provide more information to the State Governments on EVD and further explore areas of collaboration between the Federal Ministry of Health and its agencies and various State Governments to ensure a uniform strategy across the country.
He said that the Federal Government has established additional channels of communication for the use of the public as far as EVD is concerned adding that Government has now provided a toll free telephone number 0800 EBOLA HELP((0800326524357).
A website has also been provided dedicated to EVD:www.ebolaalert@ebolainfofmohng and additional twitter account: @ebolainfofmohng.
Members of the public are now receiving text messages in their mobile phones supplying vital information on how to prevent or avoid EVD as well as enlighten the public on measures being taken by Government at various levels.
He said that the Port Health Services of the Federal Ministry of Health is now screening passengers using infra red body heat detectors at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport and at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport as well as the land border crossings at Seme and Idi Iroko.
The temperature screening is now being rolled out to the remaining international airports, seaports and other land border crossings.
Directives have been issued through the appropriate Ministries to the Nigerian Customs Service and Aviation Agencies respectively not to allow corpses from affected countries to be brought into Nigeria.
He said that the Ministry has attended to the notification of corpses that were brought into Nigeria from one of the affected countries to Anambra, Imo and Akwa Ibom States stressing that the investigation of the corpse that was reported in Anambra state is almost completed.
He added that the case in Imo state has been fully investigated and found not to be EVD.
He said that a team has been dispatched to Akwa Ibom State to begin investigation of the report made in that state.
While commending the efforts of WHO, the US CDC and other partners for the technical and material support they have continued to render to the country, he assured all Nigerians and visitors to Nigeria of the Federal Government’s determination working in partnership with State Governments and development partners to prevent the spread of the disease.