Ebola: National Council on Health urges Nigerian doctors to suspend strike

Minister of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu

The National Council on Health, NCH, on Ebola, Monday, urged the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, to suspend its on-going strike.

The NCH comprises of the Minister of State for Health, the state commissioners for health and the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Federal Capital Territory, with Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu as chairman.

The council, in its deliberation, said it was necessary for the NMA to suspend its strike and contribute its quota to Nigeria’s response to the Ebola outbreak.

The NMA embarked on a nationwide strike on July 1, over Federal Government’s inability to meet its “minimum demands” which included the immediate appointment of a Surgeon-General of the Federation and increase of hazard allowance to N100, 000 monthly. The doctors also demanded the position of chief medical director be reserved for medical doctors only.

The NCH resolved that state governments should institutionalise a communication strategy to ensure mass advocacy and sensitisation on the Ebola disease for individuals and communities.

The state governments were given a directive to pay particular attention to vulnerable groups like the market women and other women groups, patent medicine vendors, road transport workers, and fishermen in the riverine areas.

Others include hunters and bush meat sellers, school children, morticians and mortuary attendants, traditional healers, and faith based groups.

The Federal Ministry of Health was directed to provide state miniseries of health, HHSS, military and para- military outfits with support to strengthen training of health workers at state and local government levels on proper infection control and containment strategies.

The health ministries will ensure that private health providers are sensitised and cases with high index of suspicion are promptly referred.

NCH also resolved that adequate incentives and life insurance be provided for health workers who participate in the management of the Ebola disease outbreak by federal, state ministries and HHSS.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, is expected to re circulate protocols and Standard Operation Procedure, SOP, as well as protocol for submitting laboratory samples and burying of EVD victims.

The NCDC will conduct detailed location, capacities, and categorisation of existing laboratories while the Federal Ministry of Health would support establishment of additional laboratories of EVD management.

Also, Port Health Services will provide and ensure the implementation of guidelines for cross border monitoring of EVD, especially in riverine areas and states with international borders.

States with riverine areas are to ensure the provision of boat ambulances suitable for EVD control.

The council directed Navy, Customs and Immigration services to collaborate with the Port Health Services to strengthen border monitoring and patrol for EVD.

It also directed further engagements to discuss challenges and proffer solutions towards addressing the disease outbreak.

These discussions would be held between the Federal Ministry of Health and states with peculiar security challenges including, although not limited to Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Kano, Taraba, and Yobe States.

NCH directed the Nigerian government to make whole body scanners available at all designated Ports of Entry and also assist states to establish isolation tents that would cater for at least 20 people.


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