Ebola: WEMA bank to bar customers with high fever

WEMA Bank .... on fire
WEMA Bank .... on fire

Wema Bank has introduced self-dispensing hand sanitisers, and body temperature scanners at all its branches in the country in a move aimed at curtailing the spread of Ebola.

The bank is also introducing protective gears for members of its staffs especially those who deal directly with customers.

In a notice to customers released Monday, the bank said henceforth all customers and visitors to any branch of the bank would be required to use the hand sanitisers and be scanned for symptoms of fever before being admitted into their banking halls.

“In the wake of the recent Ebola Virus Disease outbreak across West Africa, we are compelled to introduce the following preventive health and safety initiatives at all our business locations in order to ensure a safe banking environment for all customers and staff,” the bank stated.

“All customers and visitors are required to use the hand sanitisers and also undergo a quick non-invasive body temperature scan before being allowed into our banking halls and business locations.

“In addition, some of our staff at the more sensitive desks will also be required to wear some protective gears while interacting with customers and other visitors during this period” the document added.

The bank did not say what provisions will be made for customers who are denied access due to their body temperature or other health concerns. The bank did not respond to PREMIUM TIMES’ inquiry Monday.

The federal Ministry of Health said it was not informed of the move, considered by some as discriminatory.

A health campaign organization, Projekthope, said the new policy is discriminatory.

“We should all learn to do things right. The presence of Ebola symptoms does not necessarily mean transmission will take place,” said Steve Aborisade, who heads Ibadan-based Projekthope. “And even if we want to be hyper proactive it should be sensitive in ways that will not be discriminatory and which actually stops transmission which is our first purpose.”

However, a medical expert said the bank should go beyond screening and make adequate referral arrangements for customers who may be turned away due to their health.

“I don’t think we should see it in the light of a discriminatory policy, I think they are just trying to act on the side of caution,” said Osahon Enabulele, the immediate past president of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA.

“The end point should be to aid the referral of such an individual to the nearest health facility for appropriate treatment. And of course, I expect that they should have a medical unit in the bank to quickly evaluate clients that may have suspicious features to properly evaluate them and not just to turn them away,” Mr. Enabulele said.


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  • segun daniel

    You appear to be a hyper active journalist. I am aware that when you contact corporate organizations, they usually give you a time frame for which they would respond to you especially when you contact them by other channels (e-mails, sms etc). How did you contact Wema bank? did you at least give them a 24hour time frame to respond before you “proactively” jumped to publish your “desired” article? Was your intent to get information and report a balanced news? You should at this stage be an investigative reporter especially when it comes to sensitive issues like this. It is a pity for Nigeria sha even when journalist cannot get it right on a simple/basic report. You may also want to check in on the grammatical/typographical error(s) made in this article, you should have run this by your editor before publishing but no i guess you were too much in a haste to get a story out. good luck

    • Kayode Ketefe

      If this is not a balanced story, then I wonder what you mean by balanced news? I have read the story over and over again and yet to spot the grammatical/typographical error(s) you are referring to. And what makes you feel an editor didn’t go through the material before it was published? Materials to the best of my knowledge are not published directly by writers in the newsroom. I do not know how the writer contacted Wema Bank, but it certainly wouldn’t have been through writing alone. I am writing this based on the much I know about Premium Times writers. Besides, it is obvious the writer/reporter did his/her leg walk properly. It isn’t the writer who says your bank’s new policy is discriminatory, it is what a Nigerian whose name is stated in the story said. Rather than write rubbish about a journalist whom you don’t even know, why don’t you right your wrongs by getting a referral system in place and move on!

  • O’tega Ogra

    Hello Tobore/Premium Times, my name is O’tega Ogra and I manage the corporate communications function at Wema Bank plc.

    In view of your enquiry sent to the Bank yesterday for which a response was made in good time via the contact details made available, I am reproducing the response here again for the benefit of your teeming readers to state the rationale behind the preventive health and safety initiative introduced by the Bank and other similar organisations across the country in the wake of the Ebola Outbreak and to prevent any form of misinterpretation/misrepresentation of the initiative via your article.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    RE: DEPLOYMENT OF PREVENTIVE HEALTH & SAFETY INITIATIVES

    In view of the enormous public health challenges being faced with the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa, we have had to put these preventive measures in place for the safety of customers and staff whilst on our premises in addition to other internal health information and education initiatives for our staff.

    As advised in our communication to customers which I have once again attached, the temperature scans do not involve physical contact of any kind and are non-invasive and non-discriminatory in nature. If an individual has an extremely high
    fever (based on the non-invasive scan) and/or displays other associated symptoms, the individual will be politely advised without prejudice to seek medical care or take other appropriate steps.

    However, in the event that an individual refuses to use the sanitisers provided, he/she will be politely denied entry into the banking halls or branch locations.

    We will also like to state that these preventive measures, whilst they may seem inconvenient, are being put in place in the public health interest of the general population as we try to ensure a safe banking environment for everyone.

    There are publicly available resources on Ebola from the Federal Government and various state governments in addition to information on seeking medical care or undergoing tests.

    Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need further information.

    Thank you,

    • Sola Ade

      What you have written is not different from what the main story is saying. I contacted the writer of the story and she said it was in the night long after the story had been published before you replied, possibly after seeing the story. The story is balanced. The federal ministry of health according to the story says it is not aware of your new policy though it is the ministry that sets guidelines for such. I have also contacted the ministry and they confirmed it that they are not aware of your new policy but advised you have a referral system in place. Wema bank could have worked in conjunction with the ministry and should have a referral system incase of anyone with suspicious features.