Two Years After, Amaechi, Ambode Reflect on Ebola, Call for Strong Surveillance System

  • New movie ’93 Days’ debuts in Nigeria after rave review at Canada Film Festival
  • Showing at the cinemas this weekend

Nseobong Okon-Ekong

Two years after Nigeria survived the scourge of the dreaded Ebola disease, prominent Nigerians, including the Minster of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, Representative of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, who is also the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, and Pastor of the House on the Rock, Mr. Paul Adefarasin, wednesday reflected on the harrowing experience of the survivors and made a passionate plea for the development of strong surveillance systems to ward off potential outbreaks of such a disease in the future.

The plea was made in Lagos at the premiere of a movie titled, ‘93 Days,’ which after a rave review at the Canada Film Festival, would be available at the nation’s cinemas at the weekend.

The movie details Nigeria’s struggle to contain the virus; with a recall of the painstaking ‘in person’ follow-up, scrupulous sanitizing, vigilant and meticulous port-of-entry screening and rapid isolation of suspected infected persons carried out on 18,500 persons in Lagos and across Nigeria in the search to find any new cases among the identified contacts.

The index patient triggered a chain of transmission that claimed the life of eight persons out of a total of 19 infected persons out of a list of 989 contacts generated by infectious disease experts.

A big compliment was paid at the event hosted by House on the Rock Church in collaboration with the Consulate of the United States of America in Lagos to underscore the exploit accomplished by Nigerians, who faced with potential disaster, marshalled the inherent power of collaboration across racial, religious, ethnic, political and socio-economic divides, and averted what could have been a global catastrophe.

These evidence were provided in a message titled, ‘Greater Together-the Power of Collaboration’ by Adefarasin, a clergyman whose ministry, House on the Rock Church, sponsored the premiere of the movie that chronicled Nigeria’s fight against the Ebola pandemic.

Addressing an audience that included the Amaechi, representatives of the federal and Lagos state governments, the American consular in Lagos, Martin Brennan, Bishop Mike Okonkwo, Chief and Mrs. Olu Okeowo and Mr. Jimmy Agbaje, the clergyman re-echoed the impression of the health authorities that the sheer impact of an Ebola epidemic on the city of Lagos with 21 million people would have been nothing short of apocalyptic.

Also in the audience were Barrister and Mrs. Dapo Abiodun, Mrs. Nkiru Anumudu, Michelle Dede, Segun Arinze and Timi Dakolo.

The movie, which is directed by Steve Gukas stars Nigerian and American actors stars including Danny Glover, Tim Reid, Mackenzie Alastair, Bimbo Akintola, Keppy Ekpenyong and Somkele Idhalama among others chronicles how Nigeria battled the Ebola virus and won a harrowing 13 week-long saga of extreme ground-level work described by the World Health Organization as a remarkable the feat.
Corroborating the theme of his speech, Adefarasin said, “history correctly attributes the avoidance of a national catastrophe to the rapid, collaborative and orchestrated response by the Commissioner of Health and the Lagos State Health Management System, the First Consultants Hospital, all the doctors who put their lives on the line, health and other front line workers and undoubtedly, the late Dr. Ameyo Adadevoh, who after diagnosing and isolating the index patient became a casualty herself.”

The clergyman also commended the Nigerian movie industry for using its art to “reshape the nation’s value systems and reset our cultural norms for progress, development and a national sense of purpose. We expect much more from the crucible of your collaborative endeavors… let’s together arise and reshape the future with the powerful medium of storytelling through movie making.”

The occasion was also used to honour health workers, staff of the hospital and individuals who helped to combat the spread of the disease. They were recognised as the ‘real people’ who sacrificed their comfort to help the afflicted. The award recipients include the Commissioner of Health, Lagos state, Dr. Jide Idris, Adeagbo Bolatito, Adegboye Femi, Adesina Kabiru, Adeyemi Bidemi, Adeyiga Victoria, Akindele Funke, Babatunde Kayode, Fatimat Balogun, Ekunsunmi Olubukola, Anibaba Boye, Ogunyinka Cecilia, Ojedokun Oluwatoyin, Okunowo Yinka, Olonade Abisade, Ositade Olusola and Yusuf Ramon.

Adefarasin explained his church’s collaboration with the Nigerian movie industry. “We are collaborating with Nollywood to propagate values in the society. It will be a true notation to understand that Hollywood has shaped global culture and here Nollywood movie stands for the possibility as we begin to inculcate the best value system possible to reshape and transform Nigeria to the country of our dreams so that we can really be proud of a nation that we believe one day will be a first world nation.”

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