To effectively curtail the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease, EVD, in Lagos, the state government, in conjunction with the federal government, has promised to provide life insurance to health volunteers.
In a statement, Monday, by Jide Idris, the state’s Health Commissioner, the insurance is part of the governments’ plan to protect citizens from EVD infection and has been developed for implementation at all levels.
“To ensure the effectiveness of the response strategy, volunteers are being deployed to support several areas of work,” said Mr. Idris, a medical doctor.
“While volunteering is usually done as a means of giving back to society, the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Lagos State Government have partnered to make available some compensation packages as a means of demonstrating our gratitude for your selfless services.
“The hazardous jobs will have hazard packages that include life insurance,” Mr. Idris added.
A Liberian, Patrick Sawyer, and a nurse who treated him at the First Consultant Medical Centre, Lagos, have died of the virus.
More than 70 persons who had come in contact with the victims are being monitored for the disease, while six confirmed Ebola positive cases have been quarantined and are receiving treatment.
The various areas where volunteers are needed include Health Screening, Community Mobilization, Clinical Management, Contact Tracing, and Infection Prevention and Control.
For the Health Screening and Community Mobilization volunteer categories, requirement include an Ordinary National Diploma, Higher National Diploma, or a Degree; while the specialized areas (Clinical Management, Contact Tracing, and Infection Prevention and Control) require the services of Laboratory Scientists, Nurses, and Medical Doctors.
“We are counting on you our brothers and sisters to support this cause; because without you, we cannot contain this disease in Nigeria,” said Mr. Idris.
“Please come out and join hands with us to prevent a national outbreak of this disease,” he added.
‘VAGUE’ LIFE INSURANCE FOR HEALTH PROFESSIONALS
Meanwhile, the Lagos State chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, has described as ‘vague, the medical insurance provided for the professional health workers who had volunteered to manage those infected by the deadly Ebola virus.
At a press conference in Lagos, Sunday, the doctors said that the details of the insurance were not clearly spelt out.
“Any health worker that is managing an Ebola patient is risking his/her life and that of his family. Ebola has killed over 61 doctors in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. It is a serious issue,” said Tope Ojo, Chairman, Lagos State NMA.
“You don’t just dangle life insurance without documents. We cannot endanger our lives unless we know what is at stake. We should be assured that should anything happen to us, our families are catered for.
“The terms of the insurance must be in public domain in a transparent manner.
“It is sad that it had to take an Ebola outbreak, for government to realise that health workers need life insurance cover,” Mr. Ojo added.