Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN (middle), his Ekiti, Ondo, and Ogun States counterparts, Dr Kayode Fayemi (left), Dr Olusegun Mimiko (2nd left) and Senator Ibikunle Amosun (2nd right) respectively and the Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Mr. Moses Alake Adeyemo (right) during the South West Governor’s Press Conference on the Ebola Virus Disease which followed a containment strategy meeting of the Governors at the Lagos House, Ikeja, on Wednesday, August 6, 2014.
Towards establishing a proactive protocol for the containment of the Ebola Virus Disease, five southwest Governors met in Lagos on Wednesday, 6th August, 2014, appealing to the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) members who are on strike to act in the humanitarian interest for the purpose of containing what is obviously an emergency situation.
Speaking during a post-meeting media conference of the Governors which took place at the Lagos House, Ikeja and had in attendance Dr Segun Mimiko of Ondo, Dr Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, Senator Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun and Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, the host, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN said by so doing, the NMA would have assisted in the quest to put the Ebola matter behind the nation.
He informed that the meeting also discussed about sharing information with the people about the collaboration that is taking place between the southwest Governors in the management of the Ebola Virus Disease.
“Essentially we have addressed the issue of containing the Virus and the challenges of illegal borders, we have also felt the need to express appreciation to health workers and volunteers who have taken responsibility from the front by attending to people who are showing symptoms and people who are suspected of having contacts with the very first case that was imported”.
“All of what we have now are primarily related to that very first case and all the suspicious cases and the confirmed cases that have followed are directly related to that first case,” he explained.
Governor Fashola informed that the meeting also discussed possible support by the Federal Government and coordination amongst states, stressing that the Governors believe that it is imperative that Nigerians especially those in this State should not panic and that the State will overcome it with the very best practices and collaboration.
He also stressed that the Governors agreed that it is very important that advocacy must continue about what the risks are and what the risk sources are for the Ebola Virus Disease.
Also speaking on the several illegal borders in the southwest, Governor Ibikunle Amosun said there are over 70 of such border points in Ogun State which makes it vulnerable to possibilities of people infected from neighbouring countries sneaking into the southwest.
While calling on the Federal Government to assist the southwest in providing men and material to man the various illegal border points because the states do not have the wherewithal, he said the states would also interface with the Federal Government on what specifically it is doing to combat the spread of the disease.
Whilst also speaking on the border issue, Dr Segun Mimiko said all those who aid the entry of people through illegal border points should have a rethink about the dangers it poses, stressing that manning the borders should be the responsibility of every Nigerian.
While responding to a question on the trial drug that has just been introduced in the United States to treat the disease, Governor Kayode Fayemi said it should be borne in mind that the drug is a test drug that has not been sanctioned by the American Federal Drug Administration.
He said the first reported case of its usage on a person is the one reported about in the US currently, adding that there are conventions for countries to use such drugs that are still test drugs in the international community.
Addressing the issue of what specific actions the state has taken since the death of the Liberian and the first Nigerian, Governor Fashola said several advocacy measures have been embarked upon towards sensitizing members of the public on how to stay safe.
He added that the state government has created Ebola help lines and websites as well as other social media platforms in addition to the establishment of an isolation ward in Yaba to provide adequate medical attention to those who have tested positive to the disease and prevent the spread.
He explained that the circumstance by which the health workers at the private hospital in Lagos got infected should be understood from the background that they never had an idea of the medical history of the Liberian and were also acting according to the dictate of their profession in attending to him.
Governor Fashola stressed that the positive side to the development is that the private hospital acted in line with best practices by informing the state government immediately the Liberian starting showing symptoms of the disease on admission and resisted pressures to discharge him.
He stressed that the media can also play a role to help prevent the residents from panicking through its reportage and letting them know that it is not spread by air but through direct contact with broken skin, mucous membranes and secretions of an infected person or through direct contact with materials and surfaces that have been contaminated by an infected person.
He said medical experts have also said the corpse of an Ebola victim is more deadlier than a living person because it can play host to the virus for a very long time, saying the disclosure underscores his campaign for people to stop burying their loved ones at home.
He also urged people to review their consumption of meat and fruit which are possible sources of contracting the disease and maintaining high hygienic standards while Ondo State Governor, Dr Segun Mimiko also urged the people to avoid swimming pools that have not been disinfected.