Ebola: Health Ministry to train medical workers on staying safe

Onyebuchi Chukwu, Nigeria's health minister.

Amid renewed concerns over the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease, EVD, especially among health care workers in Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Health has concluded plans to conduct major trainings for health workers in all 36 states on how not to contract the virus while attending to patients.

During the second emergency National Council on Health meeting on EVD outbreak in Nigeria on Monday, in Abuja, the Minister of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu said, “We have now concluded plans to conduct two major trainings in all the states. The states are however expected to cascade these trainings down to the Local Government Areas, LGAs, with support from the development partners, whom we are already talking with in this regard among others”.

He added: “These trainings are as follows: Training of Trainer, TOT, for Health Workers on the Ebola Virus Disease, EVD, outbreak and other Viral Haemorrhagic Fevers, VHFs; TOT for State Health Educators on awareness creation, community sensitisation and mobilisation. Arrangement has been made to include the military and para-military in the training.”
Health workers have been the most-hit by Ebola since the virus was brought to Nigeria by Liberian-American, Patrick Sawyer, late July.

Of the six deaths recorded so far in Nigeria, two were doctors and two nurses. According to the Rivers State commissioner of health, Sampson Parker, another doctor and a pharmacist have been quarantined at an isolation centre.

The World Health Organisation has voiced concern about the “unprecedented” number of health-care workers hit by the Ebola outbreak. More than 120 health workers have died and over 240 others infected so far.

Mr. Chukwu however said the federal ministry of health has continued to ensure that workers at the Emergency Operation Centers, EOCs, have requisite knowledge to stay safe while helping to keep track of and provide care for EVD patients.

“We have also ensured that the workers have been receiving their incentives,” he added.

Consequently, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, has received approval for the re-production of copies of the protocols and SOPs for management of EVD cases as well as protocol for submitting samples to the laboratories and burying of EVD victims. These, the minister of health said, would be circulated Monday to all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

He assured that all Personal Protective Equipment, PPE, to be bought for health workers would be in line with the World Health Organisation’s specification and procured from manufacturers cum suppliers recommended by WHO.

“WHO has already supplied us with over 6,000 PPEs which we are currently using. However, we have already initiated discussions with the WHO for the procurement of 4,000 basic PPEs and 500 Heavy Duty PPEs (for use by the morticians),” he said.

He reiterated the ministry’s strategies at containing the spread of the virus in the country.

According to Mr. Chukwu, the health ministry was focusing on appropriate information, education and communication; sustaining its surveillance systems; provision and equipping of isolation wards/centres; provision of adequate care for confirmed cases; active and aggressive contact tracing; and reduction in harmful practices that promote the spread of the virus.


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