President Goodluck Jonathan
By Jaiyeola Andrews with agency report
President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday summoned the 36 state governors alongside their Commissioners for Health for an emergency meeting to discuss possible ways to curtail the spread of the dreaded Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).
However, the governors opted to greet one another with clenched fists at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, reported the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Ever since the health authorities began a sensitisation programme on the Ebola virus, Nigerians have been discouraged from shaking hands to avoid infection.
The advisory has led to several Nigerians pointedly avoiding physical contact with their friends and associates and even compelled the Catholic Church to review the symbolic gesture during its Sunday mass.
Nigeria has so far reported that 10 persons have been diagnosed with the deadly virus while two have died after a Liberian-American, Patrick Sawyer, imported and died of the virus in Lagos.
Many other Nigerians, who had initial contacts with the primary contacts have been quarantined while several others are under surveillance.
The meeting, which started at about 2 pm, stretched into the evening, following which the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, his counterpart from Enugu State, Sullivan Chime, the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, representatives of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Nigeria and others, briefed reporters at the villa.
They restated that as part of the efforts to tackle Ebola, laboratories had been earmarked in some parts of the country to test the disease.
The laboratories are located in Lagos, Asokoro in Abuja, Ibadan, the Redeemer's University Lab on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, while more are to be opened in Enugu, Jos and Kano.
The meeting also reinforced the decision of the National Council on Health, comprising the Federal Ministry of Health and all the state Ministries of Health, prohibiting the transportation of corpses from one state to the other and from another country to Nigeria, adding that there could be waiver if the ministry is contacted and it is satisfied that such corpses are safe to be so transported.