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Thursday, 14 August 2014
Nigeria’s first Ebola victim a ‘ crazy man’ – Jonathan
President Goodluck Jonathan has labeled the man who brought Ebola Virus into Nigeria a ‘crazy man’. Patrick Sawyer, a Liberian was warned against traveling to Nigeria after his sister died of the deadly virus in Liberia because he had contact with her and many others but he refused to heed to warning.
Nigeria had until last month been spared from Ebola, which has spread alarmingly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
But its arrival has sown fear throughout the country and particularly in Lagos, a teeming mega city of more than 20 million people with crumbling infrastructure and poor healthcare facilities.
The authorities in sub-Saharan Africa’s largest city have appealed for volunteers because of a shortage of medical personnel, exacerbated by a month-long doctors’ strike.
A number of measures to tackle the spread of Ebola, which is passed on through direct contact with an infected person displaying symptoms, have already been announced.
Jonathan last week declared a national emergency in line with World Health Organization (WHO) advice to affected countries to trigger disaster response procedures.
Late Patrick Sawyer died of Ebola Virus in Lagos after arriving from Liberia
Greater funding has been promised to set up additional isolation centres, border screenings and contact tracing, while Nigerians have been told to avoid large gatherings.
In his address, Jonathan told faith leaders to help get the message across and also to pay close attention to traditional burial ceremonies, given that the Ebola virus is transmissible from dead bodies.
“We must advise our people not to over-celebrate burial now,” he said.
Jonathan said that Sawyer contracted Ebola because his sister died from the infection and he attended her funeral.
“(He) became a suspect. And the country (Liberia) asked him not to leave the country so that he will be observed but the crazy man decided to smuggle himself out and now we are suffering because of it,” he added.
Following strict professional health advice was now paramount, Jonathan said, adding: “If we manage it well we can get over it in two months and we will return to our normal lives.”
The WHO said on Friday there were 13 probable and suspect cases of Ebola, including two deaths, in Nigeria.
The global health body is discussing the possible use of an experimental treatment to try to stem the spread.
In Nigeria, health minister Onyebuchi Chukwu pleaded for Nigeria’s National Medical Association to call off its strike, with the union split between those who want to return to work to tackle the crisis and those intent on staying out.
The Nigerian Red Cross Society (NRCS) meanwhile said it had activated all its volunteers to get across preventative measures to the public, particularly seeking early medical advice and treatment.
Secretary-general Bello Hamman Diram said 18 volunteers were assisting in areas such as contact tracing, health promotion, case management and public information schemes.
Some 300 other volunteers will be deployed to help the federal and Lagos State governments in providing protective equipment as well as educational and hygiene materials.