Group seeks involvement of Civil Society in fight against Ebola

Ebola Virus

The International Emergency Management Society, TIEMS, Nigeria/West Africa Chapter has called on federal and state governments to involve civil society and non-governmental organisations (CSOs and NGOs), for transparency and accountability, in the management of the Ebola disease in the country.

A statement from TIEMS Nigeria/West Africa Chapter Chairman, Mohammed Audu-Bida, a retired Air Vice Marshal, in Abuja, at the weekend, noted that the involvement of relevant CSOs and NGOs was especially important to ensure that the N1.9 billion just released by President Goodluck Jonathan to combat the disease was judiciously and transparently utilised.

The money is aimed at strengthening on-going steps to contain the Ebola virus such as the establishment of additional isolation centres, case management, contact tracing, deployment of additional personnel, screening at borders, and the procurement of required items and facilities.

According to Mr. Audu-Bida, who is a search and rescue expert, volunteers need to be trained on how to handle contagious patients and adequate equipment have to be procured.

He mentioned some of the needed equipment that must be urgently procured to include protective clothing, erection of reception points while massive public enlightenment must also be embarked upon.

Again, fluids, electrolytes, oxygen and measurement instruments are needed in huge quantity to manage patients and elongate their lives sufficiently for them to develop immunity to combat the virus from inside, he said.

He reiterated the observation by Centre for Disease Control (CDC) that standard treatment for Ebola HF was still limited to supportive therapy, which consisted of

. balancing the patient’s fluids and electrolytes

· maintaining their oxygen status and blood pressure

· treating them for any complicating infections

According to him, enough isolation points should be created in strategic places across Nigeria so that anyone showing symptoms of the disease could be quarantined and observed away from other citizens.

Early symptoms of Ebola include fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, weakness, diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach pain and lack of appetite but since these are not peculiar to only the disease, those who have them must be encouraged to report early to treatment points.

“If a person has the early symptoms of Ebola HF and there is reason to believe that Ebola HF should be considered, the patient should be isolated and public health professionals notified,” he said. “Supportive therapy can continue with proper protective clothing until samples from the patient are tested to confirm infection.”

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