House Urges Health Ministry to Prevent Ebola Reoccurrence


• Urges Buhari to immortalise Adadevoh

By Adedayo Akinwale ín Abuja

Worried by the proximity of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and other West Africa countries to Nigeria, the House of Representatives has called on the Ministry of Heath to put in place measures to prevent the reoccurrence of Ebola virus in the country.

At the resumption of plenary on Tuesday, Hon. Paschal Obi raised a motion over the looming reoccurrence of Ebola crisis in Nigeria, adding that more than 1,000 cases of Ebola were reported in a recent outbreak in DRC.

He said that the resurgence of Ebola remains a grave health challenge to Nigeria and the sub-region of West Africa.

Obi noted that this requires urgent legislative intervention to energise the federal government in the preparation of such measures as may be required for the control and eradication.

He recalled that Nigeria successfully combated Ebola in 2014 through collaborations and commitments never experienced in history.

According to Obi, “Further, the fear currently is that the epidemic could be spread through routes outside of the airports as was the case in 2014. This is why the motion seeks to strengthen measures in the seaports, roads and other border points in the country for the purpose of controlling further outbreak.”

He noted that the motion seeks to place the country on alert through this legislative intervention as new cases of the Ebola outbreak are recorded in the DRC since March 19, 2019.

The House therefore urged the ministry to deploy necessary materials and personnel in the airports, sea ports and land borders for carrying out screening exercise on passengers, while also urging the federal government to set aside funds for the management of Ebola virus in the event of its reoccurrence in Nigeria.

The House also mandated its Committees on Health care Services and Health Institutions to ensure that relevant agencies take precautionary measures to avert the reoccurrence of the Ebola disease.

Meanwhile, the House has urged the federal government to name prominent public health institution in Lagos State after Dr. Stella Adadevoh.

Hon. Akiolu Kayode moved a motion for the immortalisation of Adadevoh, who risked her life in a bid to curb the spread of Ebola virus in Nigeria by placing a Liberian-American diplomat, Mr. Patrick Sawyer, whom she suspected of having the virus in quarantine.

He recalled that Sawyer came to Nigeria from Liberia to attend an Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) conference in Calabar, but on arrival at the Lagos Airport on July 20, 2014, he collapsed and was taken to First Consultants Medical Centre, a private hospital in Lagos, where Dr. Adadevoh worked.

He said despite Sawyer’s initial positive malaria diagnosis, Adadevoh remained suspicious and got him tested for Ebola virus and despite personal risks, threats and diplomatic pressures on her to discharge the diplomat to attend the conference, while waiting for the outcome of the test, for the greater public good.

By quarantining Sawyer in the hospital, he recalled that Adadevoh and some of her staff became infected as Sawyer was diagnosed with Ebola infection from which he eventually died in the hospital on July 25, 2014.

In his contribution, Hon. Oghene Egoh said that Adadevoh knew she was going to die, but she had to keep Sawyer in check to save the lives of several Nigerians, adding that this motion was about a woman who died in order to make sure other Nigerians are safe.

Also, Hon. Chinedu Benjamin noted that he was in full support of the motion, stressing that national honour should not be given to politicians alone, but the country should also honour those that died in active service.

On his part, Hon. Luke Onofiok said that if not for anything, honoring Adadevoh stand to show encouragement that whenever people engage in patriotic acts, they would be remembered.

The House therefore urged President Muhammudu Buhari to recognise the heroic acts of patriotism of Adadevoh and her medical team and confer a befitting posthumous national honour on her.

The House also urged the ministry to assess and certify Nigeria’s emergency preparedness against unexpected epidemics; while also urging the federal government to recognise and provide every support necessary for Ebola virus survivors and the families of Ebola victims.