Jonathan’s N1.9 billion Ebola Intervention Fund yet to arrive Lagos

Lagos Governor, Babatunde Fashola

The Lagos State government has said it is yet to receive any financial assistance from the federal government to help stop the spread of the Ebola virus in the state.

Jide Idris, the Commissioner for Health, told journalists at a press conference in Lagos, Friday, that the state is yet to receive a “penny” from the federal government.

“This effort is a collaborative effort between the Lagos State government and the federal officials and their partners,” said Dr. Idris.

“As far as I know, the federal government has been very good in providing technical support, technical support especially through the consultant partners.

“As at now we have not received a penny from the federal government. All the money we’ve spent at the state are money released by the state governor, who released the money immediately we had this thing. And that’s the money we’ve been spending. Perhaps the federal government will release it later, as at now we have not received a penny.

“But again we are grateful for all they have been doing to provide technical support, so many of their staff are working with us in contact tracing, case management, and they are part of the emergency response centre,” Dr. Idris added.

Last week, President Goodluck Jonathan announced the immediate release of a N1.9 billion Special Intervention Plan to strengthen the ongoing steps to contain the spread of the Ebola virus.

Onyebuchi Chukwu, the Health Minister, had also said that an experimental drug for treatment of the Ebola Virus Disease had been provided by a Nigerian in diaspora and would arrive the country on Thursday.

But Dr. Idris also said that the state government has not received the drug as at Friday evening.

“We heard on the news that the thing is on its way to Lagos. We have not received it as of now,” said Dr. Idris.

“But let me say I go for evening briefing at the EOC (Emergency Operation Centre), when I go there for 6 o’clock briefing I’ll get the full details. As at now, I am not aware of the drug yet. Perhaps it’s there, perhaps not.

“We in Lagos we are also exploring such possibilities, because we sent our pharmacists to enquire properly from the two manufacturing companies how best to get them. If they are here in Lagos, I’ll confirm this evening,” he added.

Only Lagos State has recorded Ebola cases, with four deaths (including the Liberian) and eight people in isolation, according to Dr. Idris.

The Health Commissioner also appealed to striking medical doctors to shelve their industrial action.

“Because of our request for volunteers, a number of people have come. They’ve trained some people. As at now, we have five doctors, about eight nurses and some health workers,” he added.

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