The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has reassured Nigerians of its commitment and efforts to ensure their health security is protected.
The Communication Manager of NCDC, Dr Lawal Bakare, gave this assurance in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday.
Bakare said that part of Nigeria’s immediate response was by the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, who issued a statement over the weekend highlighting the need for citizens not to panic.
He quoted the minister as saying: “Nigerians are urged not to panic as the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control is equipped to secure the health of citizens.”
He noted that the centre has for a while now been strengthening states capacities to detect, manage and respond to haemorrhagic fevers, including Lassa fever and Ebola.
He further said that following this directive, the NCDC convened an emergency meeting with relevant stakeholders to guide the country’s preparedness activities.
“At the meeting chaired by the Chief Executive Officer of the NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, an Ebola Preparedness Working Group (EPWG) was set up to lead on the coordination of the immediate risk assessment of the situation in the DRC.
“The group will coordinate the strengthening of prevention and preparedness for any potential introduction of the virus into Nigeria,” the spokesman said.
Bakare said that the risk of introduction of the Ebola virus into Nigeria is considered to be highest through its air and land borders.
He noted that Port Health Authorities have been advised to intensify existing screening procedures at all ports of entry with first responder teams being put on alert.
He said that in addition there will be an increased focus on reinforcing principles of infection prevention and control to all healthcare workers across the country.
He noted that Nigeria’s response to Ebola in 2014 was recognised globally for its speed and efficiency.
He added that NCDC and its partners will leverage this success in its preparedness to prevent, detect and respond to the unlikely situation of the introduction of the virus to Nigeria.
He also said that WHO and other NCDC partners are committed to continued support to the country in its efforts to ensure its health security is protected.
Bakare said that the NCDC-led Ebola Preparedness Working Group will provide regular updates as necessary on the outbreak in the DRC and provide information on how to protect ourselves and our country from Ebola.