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Nigeria in Response to the EBOLA Virus Disease

The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria presents its compliments to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Royal Kingdom of Sweden as well as all Diplomatic Missions and International Organizations accredited to Sweden and has the honour to convey information on the measures so far taken by the Federal Government of Nigeria in response to the EBOLA Virus disease brought into Lagos, Nigeria by a single American-Liberian, Patrick Sawyer and also highlight the multifaceted strategies instituted by the Federal Government to manage and contain the disease.

The Diplomatic Community and host authorities are invited to note: –
(i) The outbreak and spread of the EBOLA Virus disease is a National, Regional International Emergency and is being treated as such.

(ii) Mr. Patrick Sawyer, the American died of the disease in Lagos on 25th of July, 2014. In addition, Nigeria has recorded seven deaths as a result of the EBOLA Virus disease, being the Consultant Doctor, the nurse that attended to the late Mr. Patrick Sawyer and the ECOWAS official who received him at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos while six persons have been confirmed infected with the virus. All the victims are Health personnel who treated and had extensive contacts with the deceased.

(iii) The forty eight passengers who had flown with the late Mr. Sawyer on his flight from Liberia to Nigeria via Lome, Togo have all been placed under surveillance, with twenty two others including all the health workers who attended to him and other contacts from Lagos Airport to the Hospital.

(iv) The Federal Ministry of Health has set up screening and monitoring centers at the Nnamdi Azikiwe and Murtala Mohammed Airports to screen outbound and inbound passengers and likewise in all major entry points to Nigeria.

(v) All Government tertiary health institutions have been sensitized on the emergency, as well as the provision of supportive drugs and medical consumables.

(vi) Establishment of emergency operations and call centers to contain the disease, with dedicated telephone numbers.

(vii) Massive sensitization of the general public and various organizations, most especially worship centres on crowd management in order to curb the spread of the disease.

(viii) The establishment of a dedicated website (www.ebolaalert.org) to enable Nigerians have a better understanding of the disease and to gather suggestions from learned Nigerians on ways to curb it.

(ix) Collaboration between Federal and State Ministries of Health on sensitization programs at State levels.

(x) The media has been advised not to create unnecessary panic, but to continue with constructive dissemination of information and knowledge on the nature and spread of the disease.

(xi) Sensitization is ongoing on radio and television stations in the three major local Nigerian languages to enlighten Nigerians on the Ebola disease and the importance of personal hygiene, including frequent hand washing, the use of sanitizers and avoidance of handshakes where possible.

(xii) The Federal Government has suspended the repatriation of corpses into Nigeria from other countries.

(xiii) Provision of life insurance coverage for health workers recruited to treat cases and contain the Ebola disease.

(xiv) The provision of US $3.5 million to the ECOWAS Fund for the control of the disease and to the three most affected countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia announced by President Ebele Jonathan at the ECOWAS Summit in Accra, Ghana on 12th July, 2014.

(xv) The total number of confirmed cases of EVD in the country is now 12, with four deaths and 189 under surveillance in Lagos and six in Enugu.

As a result of the extensive efforts taken by the Nigerian Government and health personnel, the Embassy is able to happily inform that the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) at the Mainland Hospital, Yaba, Lagos has announced that the first Nigerian to be confirmed to have Ebola Virus Disease, who was one of the primary contacts of the late America-Liberian Patrick Sawyer was discharged from the isolation unit at the Mainland Hospital on the 16th August, 2014.

The Minister of Health Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, accompanied by the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris at a recent Press Conference pointed out that five of the other Ebola patients had almost fully recovered.

The patients under treatment have now been moved to a new 40 bed capacity isolation ward provided by the Lagos State Government. Additional equipment has also been made available to the new isolation ward by the Federal Government.

Finally, the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria wishes to reiterate that Nigeria is totally committed to containing and eventually completely eliminating the spread of this dreadful disease surreptitiously brought into Nigeria by a foreign national and to further assure that Nigeria is safe for travelers.

It should be noted that while the World Health Organisation (WHO) had classified the Ebola outbreak as a Public Health Emergency of international concern, they had also assured the general public that properly screened passengers pose little risk.

The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Royal Kingdom of Sweden, as well as all Diplomatic Missions and International Organizations accredited to Sweden, the assurances of its highest consideration.

Stockholm, 18th August, 2014

Ministry for Foreign Affairs
The Royal Kingdom of Sweden

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