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Ebola: NMA Rejects School Resumption Date; Urges FG To Await Outcome Of Existing Cases



By Ayo Balogun

Less than a week after the Federal Government backslided on the resumption date of the country’s Nursery/Primary and secondary schools, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has kicked against Monday September 22, 2014 as a commencement date for the new academic session.

The association’s position was made public Monday by its National Secretary-General, Dr. Olawunmi Alayaki. The position of NMA according to him, was that all schools must remain  closed  until the existing confirmed and suspected Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) cases in various parts of the country were properly and completely managed and tested negative to the deadly virus.

doctorAlternatively, Dr. Alayaki stated that NMA would prefer the resumption date for the schools to be extended till December, better still, early 2015. The association warned  should the virus spread in any school, in any part of the country, the disease would take an alarming dimension, which might be very difficult to contain.

NMA therefore cautioned no parent should be in haste with respect to resumption date, as it noted the children could not “survive isolation like adults, warning of severe consequences if the virus takes a serious dimension, as the country is densely populated unlike other sub regional African countries.

In the same vein, the Lagso state Chapter of the body has offered that the reversed resumption date should have been delayed till after the existing cases under surveillance and treatment in the state and Rivers were certified negative by the experts.

Its Chairman, Dr. Tope Ojo, observed that   many of the public and private schools would after all fail to acquire basic   hygiene and sanitary facilities, which they have been directed to provide to check the spread of the virus and prevent its infection on pupils.

Dr. Ojo declared that it would cost Federal government nothing if it had “waited till those under surveillance have completed the 21 days in all the states where they are being monitored”.

NMA’s position is against the background of about 500 suspected victims who are still under surveillance both in Lagos and Rivers state – the two states that have recorded casualties so far in the country. Still, the Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Sampson Parker on Monday, revealed that an 18 month-old baby had been quarantined in the state having shown some symptoms of the virus.

Health Minister, Professsor Onyebuchi Chukwu similarly confirmed Monday, that Nigeria presently has only one case of confirmed EVD victim, which is the fiance to the first and only Rivers state victim, Dr. Ike Enemuo, who died August 22, having treated an ECOWAS envoy who had contact with the country’s first and index case, Liberian – American, Patrick Sawyer, who died in Lagos in July this year.

Professor Oyebuchi confirmed yesterday that out of 19 EVD confirmed cases in Nigeria, 11 have survived, seven died while one case was still under watch.

The Word Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed that not less than 2000 people have been killed by deadly Ebola in the sub region after its outbreak in March this year. Liberia records the highest casualty.

It would be recalled the Minister of Education Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, last Friday announced after a meeting in Abuja with the state Commissioners for Education Monday, September 22 as the new resumption date instead of October 13, earlier announced by the Federal Government. The decision was precipitated on the dropped alert level of the virus in the country.



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