• Sunday, February 25, 2024
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BusinessDay

Chevron, Total Nigeria step up fight against Ebola in Nigeria

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As Nigeria continues to step up its Ebola containment strategy since the deadly disease was imported through the index case Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian-American on July 21, 2014, corporate firms are rallying support towards fighting Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) by donating ambulances and vehicles to assist transporting of medical staff and equipment as well as support core operations of the Ebola Operation Centre (EOC) in its monitoring exercise.

Olubukunola Fagade, medical director, Chevron Nigeria Limited, who made the donations of two standard ambulances on behalf of the NNPC/CNL Joint Venture, said the donations were a part of the Joint Venture’s social investments in the area of health for the benefit of Nigerians.

According to Fagade, “We see the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) as a threat to the collective health and socio-economy of the country. We therefore reiterate our commitment to partner with other stakeholders to stem the tide of Ebola.”

While reinforcing Chevron Nigeria Limited’s commitment to Nigeria, especially in the area of economic and social development, Fagade promised that the company will work tirelessly in partnership with other stakeholders to ensure that the dreaded disease is contained and stopped from spreading throughout the country.

“We have a very strategic ongoing approach to support the work of the Ebola team in Nigeria and we are collaborating with other stakeholders in the oil and gas sector of the Nigerian economy,” he added.

Elisabeth Proust, managing director/chief executive, Total E&P Nigeria Limited told BusinessDay that isolation wards have since been created at its clinics located at Abuja, Port Harcourt and Lagos in the event that any suspected case.

Proust disclosed that Total E & P Nigeria Ltd evaluated the needs of three reference hospitals (Mainland Hospital Yaba, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital and Kuje General Hospital, Abuja) and donated items to meet their urgent needs.

“In Lagos, we are donating 5 Ford pick-up vehicles to Mainland Hospital for use of the Ebola Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) to assist in monitoring of people under surveillance and transporting of medical staff and equipment as required. We are giving 1,000 pandemic level PPEs to Kuje General Hospital, Abuja. For Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, we will provide one ambulance and 1,000 pandemic level PPEs,” Proust stated.

Responding, Faishal Shuaib, head/incident manager EOC, Lagos, lauded the effort and described the contribution as invaluable in the concerted efforts at containing the disease.

“This donation will definitely assist in dealing with this emergency. It is important to acknowledge the fact that Nigeria has done a very good job in acting quickly,” Shuaid added.

The 2014 Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in West Africa continues to evolve in alarming ways, with hard-hit countries-Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone-struggling to control the outbreak against a backdrop of compromised health systems, deficits in capacity, and rampant fear.

Currently, 40 of 41 countries in the WHO African Region have now responded to a preparedness assessment, putting in place fully functional protocols for contact tracing and monitoring, and for managing travellers arriving at major border crossings with febrile illness appear to be the priority areas that need to be addressed.

While 14 of 40 African countries have a fully functional protocol in place for identifying and monitoring the contacts of any suspected Ebola case, a protocol is in place but not yet functional in 11 countries within WHO African region. Furthermore, 23 of the 40 countries surveyed by WHO have a surveillance system in place and functional at major land border crossings and key locations in the capital city (airport, seaport if any, and major hospitals).

The hard-hit countries are experiencing a phenomenon never before seen in any previous Ebola outbreak due to the fact that as soon as a new Ebola treatment facility is opened, it immediately fills to overflowing with patients, pointing to a large but previously invisible caseload, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Of all Ebola-affected countries, Liberia has the highest cumulative number of reported cases and deaths, amounting, on 8 September, to nearly two thousand cases and more than one thousand deaths. The case-fatality rate at 58 percent is among the highest with transmission of the virus in Liberia currently intense and the number of new cases increasing exponentially. Some 152 health care workers have been infected and 79 have died, according to WHO.

Data from WHO as at 7 September reveal that the total number of probable, confirmed and suspected cases in the current outbreak of EVD in West Africa was 4366, with 2218 deaths in affected countries such as Guinea, Liberia, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.