Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola has hinted that the state is planning to send health workers in the state to Sierra Leone to help the country ravaged by the Ebola Virus Disease contain the deadly disease.
The governor also appointed a Chief Scientific Adviser on Infectious diseases whose job would include conducting an all science-based research on matters relating to the well-being of the residents.
She is Dr. Adekemi Oluwayemisi Sekoni, an expert on infectious diseases, who would prepare the State for responses to possible outbreak of diseases and coordinate all science-based research that are likely to benefit Lagosians.
The State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, who announced her appointment at the commemoration of the 2,700 Days in Office of his administration at the LTV Blue Roof Multi-purpose Hall, on Alhaji Lateef Jakande Road Agidingbi, Ikeja, said the Scientific Adviser would act as co-coordinator for providing scientific information about infectious diseases as well as coordinating other areas of science based research such as food sufficiency, water sufficiency, air pollution and all other things that are likely to affect the well-being of Lagos residents.
The Governor, who praised Lagosians for their cooperation in the containment battle against the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the State, said the need for a Scientific Adviser arose out of some of the lessons learnt during the spirited efforts to end the spread in the State pointing out that Government saw clearly the necessity for a post-Ebola management by having someone to both provide scientific information about infectious diseases and coordinate scientific research for the good-health of the people.
Recalling the very anxious months of the efforts to contain the EVD in the State, Fashola, who described it as a very challenging period especially with the fact that it has no cure and has devastating consequences on its victims, said what made the Lagos case unique was that in the 40 years since the virus was discovered, it had never affected an urban centre adding that all known cases were in rural places where there were not many people.
“Ebola in Lagos, with a population of 21 million people, was a time bomb of epic proportion if it developed into an epidemic”, the Governor said adding that in spite of the fact that the State had no previous experience to fall back to, it had to learn by itself and came out with excellent result.
He paid glowing tribute to all residents, old and young, male and female, including traditional rulers, community leaders, transporters and State workers as well as the State’s Health workers working with their counterparts from Federal Health institutions members and development partners such as the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, Doctors-Without-Borders and the Centre for Disease Control as well as the Diplomatic Community.
Thanking all who have contributed in that containment battle, Fashola declared, “You refused to surrender. You contained the disease and our country is in the world news for all the right reasons”. The Governor, however, noted that the work of containment could not be said to have finished until the virus is routed from all the other countries of the West African sub-region where the disease is currently holding sway.
The Governor stressed the need for residents to continue to imbibe the lessons of personal and environmental hygiene such as regular hand-washing with soap and water, and stopping the practice of public urination and open defecation as viable means to safeguard themselves and the State from outbreak of any infectious disease.
He appealed to the Federal Government to maintain the highest vigilance at the nation’s land, air and sea borders adding that close scrutiny of persons from countries and regions where Ebola remains a challenge must be the first line of defence in ensuring that the disease does not infiltrate the country again.
The Governor argued that the work on the Ebola containment in the country could not be said to have finished until the disease is equally eradicated from all the other countries bordering Nigeria adding, “Importantly, we must send help to these countries if we truly want to keep the gains we have recorded”.
In an interactive session with members of the public and newsmen at the event, Fashola hinted of plans by the State Government to send volunteer health workers to Sierra Leone to assist the country on the efforts to contain the Ebola scourge in that country.
The Governor, who said the State Commissioner for Health would shed more light on the development in a few weeks time, maintained that Nigerians could indeed close there two eyes and sleep about the Virus as there is no other infection case in the State or the nation.