An Ebola Preparedness Working Group (EPWG) has been set up by the Federal Ministry of Health in conjunction with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) as a pro-active step in preventing Ebola outbreak.
The EPWG will lead the coordination of the immediate risk assessment of the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and coordinate the strengthening of prevention and preparedness for any potential introduction of the virus into Nigeria.
The move followed the formal notification from the World Health Organisation (WHO) of an outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease in the DRC.
The setting up of the working group came after a directive by the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, to the citizenry not to panic given the level of risk of possible transmission of the virus from the Central African country.
The NCDC convened an emergency meeting with representatives from the Department of Public Health and Port Health Services of the Federal Ministry of Health, World Health Organisation (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United States (U.S.) Centre for Disease Control, the African Field Epidemiology Network and the University of Maryland, Baltimore, U.S. to guide the country’s preparedness activities.
The risk of introduction of the Ebola virus into Nigeria is considered to be highest through its air and land borders.
Therefore, Port Health authorities have been advised to intensify existing screening procedures at ports of entry with first responder teams being put on alert.
In addition, there will be an increased focus on reinforcing principles of infection prevention and control by healthcare workers.
Nigeria’s response to Ebola in 2014 was recognised globally for its speed and efficiency.