Ebola: Ex-NMA President advises Nigeria on safety for health workers

Mr. Enabulele said Africa cannot continue to look to the west for help.

The former President of the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, Osahon Enabulele, on Tuesday reiterated the call to provide Personal Protective Equipment, PPE, for doctors and other health workers managing Ebola fever patients.

Mr. Enabulele, who made the call in an interview in Abuja said it was to guarantee their safety while they were working to save lives.

The immediate past President of NMA said in view of the dangers health workers were confronted with, it was expedient to guarantee their protection in order not to compromise their lives.

“We have to keep calling on government to provide the needed personal protective equipment to guarantee the safety of health workers.

“It is not enough to throw workers to manage such public health crisis situations; they also need to guarantee their safety and protection.

“Right now there is really nothing on ground to protect health workers and even the hazard allowance of N5,000 per month is so miserable.

“I can imagine that so far in this crisis since it started in Guinea, a lot of health workers have been consumed; in fact over 60 doctors have lost their lives,” he said.

Mr. Enabulele, who commended doctors for setting up Ebola responsive teams to curb the spread of the virus irrespective of the ongoing NMA strike, urged the federal government to meet the demands of doctors.

“The NMA has been very responsive to issues of public health and even as the NMA is on strike, a lot of Ebola response teams are being set up by the Nigeria Medical Association at the various state levels.

“So, the NMA is very prepared and in fact has set up a lot of response teams to manage this and collaborate with local and international partners in this direction.

“I saw that even in the case of insurgency, even while the NMA was on strike, members responded by attending to the bomb blast victims in Kano and Kaduna.

“In spite of the fact that the members are on strike, they are also very sensitive to the fact that they need to also respond to this even at their own peril.

“Government has to do the needful, more importantly in this time of crisis, so that you have more people on ground to be part of the rescue mission in terms of the Ebola crisis management.”

Speaking on the treatment for Ebola, Mr. Enabulele, who is currently the Vice President, West African Region of Commonwealth Medical Association, said there was neither known cure nor vaccine for the disease.

He called on African governments to be more committed to research development, rather than depending on the West for solution.

“There is certainly no vaccine right now. There are several candidate vaccines being tried and of course the same thing with the drugs.

“As much as we are in a hurry to have drugs to manage the Ebola as well as vaccine to prevent even healthy people from getting infected, that draws to mind the challenge of getting African governments to be a bit more proactive and more committed to the issue of research development.

“We honestly cannot continue to look upon the West, upon the foreign countries to develop solutions for our African problems.

“And you begin to wonder why since 1976, African governments have not considered it necessary to develop their research infrastructure to be able to of course develop very good remedies for this.

“And how many years down the line, we are still talking about waiting for America to even extend to us their experimental drugs, the Z-Map and the others,” he said.

Mr. Enabulele, also a delegate to the National Conference, said African countries, particularly Nigeria, should have more research interventions on public health to tackle emerging health concerns.

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