Nigeria Commits to Eradicating Ebola in Africa

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Linus Awute

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| By Anayo Ezugwu |

THE federal government is committed to eradicating Ebola Virus Disease, EVD, in Africa. At the international conference of African ministers of Health in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, on July 21, President Muhammadu Buhari, announced a donation of $1 million to the fight of the disease. This is in addition to earlier contributions by Nigeria to stem the disease in the region.

This gesture underscores the importance the country places in ridding the continent of Ebola and in the spirit of mutual assistance, according to a statement by Ayo Adesugba, director of press and public relations in the ministry of health, President Buhari announced.

The President, who was represented by Linus Awute, permanent secretary in the ministry of health, used the forum to share Nigeria’s experience in 2014, in rapidly containing the deadly virus. He said, “Nigeria is not celebrating the end of Ebola in Nigeria until this disease is totally eliminated from the West African region. This is because Ebola in one country remains also a threat to another. Therefore, meeting the challenge is crucial to us right now and so we remain committed to support all efforts of the African Union in this fight.”

According to him, Nigeria is in full support of the establishment of the African Centre for Disease Control, working with the regional centre, which he said, would significantly enhance health targets to build the International Health Regulations Capacities. Buhari observed that ECOWAS region was the first to take the initiative of establishing a regional Centre for Disease Control in which the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control was designed as the regional centre in recognition of its role in curtailing the spread of the disease in Nigeria and the West African sub-region.

Nigeria is supporting research efforts in developing therapies and vaccines against the disease, adding that the efforts were leading to the development of promising Ebola therapies through partnership between government and private sector. Nigeria welcomes the AU Peace and Security Council’s decision taken during its 450th meeting on August 19 2014, to support the Ebola affected countries in West Africa through the Africa Union Support to Ebola Outbreak in West Africa by deploying volunteers.

Nigeria is among the first countries to respond, by deploying 198 personnel who served in the ASEOWA mission, which contributed to the progress made in the affected countries by reducing Ebola cases from about 400 per week in 2014 to less than 30 in 2015. The success might have informed governments and partners to embark on disengaging or reducing their support in human and material resources, even though the mission of the ASEOWA to stop Ebola transmission in the affected member states, prevent international spread and rebuild health systems had not been fully achieved.

Recent upsurge of cases in Sierra Leone and Guinea and the reappearance of cases in Liberia, after being certified Ebola-free by the World Health Organisation, confirmed that Africa was dealing with regional and international health security emergencies of larger proportions. Buhari also called on the African Union Commission to reconsider the immediate redeployment of volunteers to the affected countries, “until the job is done.”

— Aug 3, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT

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