Nigeria Is Ebola-Free: Here’s What They Did Right

DSP

Heri
Ebola: WHO Declares Nigeria Free of Ebola

It's been 42 days since the last new case

The World Health Organization declared Nigeria free of Ebola on Monday, a containment victory in an outbreak that has stymied other countries’ response efforts.

The milestone came at about 11 a.m. local time, or 6 a.m., E.T. The outbreak has killed more than 4,500 in West Africa is remains unchecked in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, so Nigeria is by no means immune to another outbreak.

“It’s possible to control Ebola. It’s possible to defeat Ebola. We’ve seen it here in Nigeria,” Nigerian Minister of Health Onyebuchi Chukwu told TIME. “If any cases emerge in the future, it will be considered—by international standards—a separate outbreak. If that happens, Nigeria will be ready and able to confront it exactly as we have done with this outbreak.”

For the WHO to declare Nigeria as Ebola-free, the country had to make it 42 days with no new cases (double the incubation period), verify that it actively sought out all possible contacts, and show negative test results for any suspected cases.

Nigeria had 20 cases of Ebola after a Liberian-American man named Patrick Sawyer flew into Lagos and collapsed at the airport. Health care workers treating Sawyer were infected, and as it spread it ultimately killed eight people, a low number next to the thousands of cases and deaths in other countries. Nigeria’s health system is considered more robust, but there was significant concern from experts that a case would pop up in one of the country’s dense-populated slums and catch fire.

So what did Nigeria do right? Chukwu and Dr. Faisal Shuaib of the country’s Ebola Emergency Operation Center, broke it down for TIME.

Preparing early. Nigeria knew it was possible a case of Ebola would make it into the country, so officials got to work early by training health care workers on how to manage the disease, and disseminating information so the country knew what to expect.

Declaring an emergency—right away. When Nigeria had its first confirmed case of Ebola, the government declared a national public health emergency immediately. This allowed the Ministry of Health to form its Ebola Emergency Operations Center (EOC). The EOC is an assembly of public health experts within Nigeria as well as the WHO, Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and groups like Doctors Without Borders. “[We] used a war-room approach to coordinate the outbreak response,” Shuaib said. “So you have a situation whereby government and staff of international development agencies are co-located in a designated facility where they are able to agree on strategies, develop one plan and implement this plan together.”

The EOC was in charge of contact tracing (the process of identifying and monitoring people who may have had direct or indirect contact with Ebola patients), implementing strict procedures for handling and treating patients, screening all individuals arriving or departing the country by land, air and sea, and communicating with the community. Some workers went door-to-door to offer Ebola-related education, and others involved religious and professional leaders. Social media was a central part of the education response.

Training local doctors. Nigerian doctors were trained by Doctors Without Borders and WHO, and treated patients in shifts with their oversight.

Managing fear. “Expectedly, people were scared of contracting the disease,” Shuaib said. “In the beginning, there was also some misinformation about available cures, so fear and inaccurate rumors had to be actively managed.” Nigeria used social media to to ramp up awareness efforts, and publicized patients who were successfully treated and discharged. “People began to realize that contracting Ebola was not necessarily a death sentence,” Shuai said. “Emphasizing that reporting early to the hospital boosts survival gave comfort that [a person] has some level of control over the disease prognosis.”

Keeping borders open. Nigeria has not closed its borders to travelers from Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, saying the move would be counterproductive. “Closing borders tends to reinforce panic and the notion of helplessness,” Shuaib said. “When you close the legal points of entry, then you potentially drive people to use illegal passages, thus compounding the problem.” Shuaib said that if public health strategies are implemented, outbreaks can be controlled, and that closing borders would only stifle commercial activities in the countries whose economies are already struggling due to Ebola.

Remaining prepared for more patients. Even though this outbreak was contained, Nigeria is not slowing down its training and preparations for the possibility of more cases. “Outbreak response preparedness is a continuous process that requires constant review of the level of the response mechanisms in place to ensure that the health system is ready to jump into action at all levels,” Shuaib said. “There is no alternative to preparedness.”

Advocating for more international response. “The global community needs to consistently come together, act as one in any public health emergency, whether it is Ebola or a natural disaster.” Shuaib said. “While a lot has been done, it still falls short of what is necessary to get ahead of the curve. We must act now, not tomorrow, not next week.”

Read next: Dozens Who Had Contact With the First U.S. Ebola Patient Are in the Clear
 

Socapro

Repect Our Soca Pioneers
Rather than banning Nigerians who are now Ebola free the PPG in T&T need to invite some Nigerian experts over to T&T to give us some advice on what we can do to prevent Ebola reaching T&T or how to contain and eliminate Ebola if it ever gets to T&T.
 

Socapro

Repect Our Soca Pioneers
BAN STAYS
Carnival not in danger, yet

By Ria Taitt Political Editor (T&T Express)
Story Created: Oct 20, 2014 at 9:47 PM ECT

Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan said yesterday the travel ban on Nigeria remains, notwithstanding the fact that the World Health Organisation yesterday declared Nigeria to be Ebola-free.

“The decision of the Cabinet would stand until further notice as the Prime Minister said,” he told the Express yesterday, when asked whether Government would reconsider its travel ban on the West African nation, in the light of the WHO’s pronouncements. Cabinet last Thursday placed a ban on travel to Nigeria and four other African nations (Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Democratic Republic of Congo). The Government mandated that Trinbagonians living in those countries who wish to return home, must be placed under a 21-day quarantine.

“So we will look at it again, based on the new information. Obviously it would be looked at, it would be discussed by the Cabinet and a decision would be taken,” he said.

The World Health Organisation said Nigeria’s Ebola-free status, after having had 20 cases of Ebola, represented a “rare victory” in the months-long battle against the fatal disease.

The disease continues to spread rapidly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea and has claimed more than 4,500 lives.

But Nigeria’s containment of Ebola was a “spectacular success story,” WHO’s director for Nigeria, Rui Gama Vaz, told a news conference in the capital, Abuja.

On Friday, a Nigerian national, Malond Aisha Adu arrived in Trinidad on Caribbean Airlines Fight BW 525 and was not allowed into Trinidad and Tobago, in keeping with the ban imposed by the Government. The woman reportedly stated she would lodge a formal complaint with her Government over her deportation from Trinidad and Tobago.

Yesterday the Nigerian High Commission declined to comment on the issue and instead issued a print out of a news report confirming the WHO had declared Nigeria to be Ebola-free.

Last week, Musa John Jen resigned as Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago in order to return to Nigeria to contest a governorship. When the Express visited the commission’s headquarters in St Clair yesterday, a secretary stated that deputy High Commissioner Ade Yemi was in a meeting and would not be available for comment.

An AP report stated that in July, Ebola had come to Lagos, Nigeria, which is Africa’s most populous city, through an airline passenger who had carried Ebola from Liberia to Nigeria. The July 23 announcement about the disease hitting Nigeria “rocked public health communities all around the world”, the WHO said in a statement.

Many feared the worst in in an urban sprawl characterised by large populations living in crowded and unsanitary conditions in many slums. Lagos’ population of about 21 million people is nearly the combined populations of the infected countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the statement said.

“The last thing anyone in the world wants to hear are the two words, ‘Ebola’ and ‘Lagos’, in the same sentence,” US Consul General Jeffrey Hawkins noted at the time, saying the juxtaposition conjured up images of an “apocalyptic urban outbreak”.

Instead, with swift coordination between state and federal health officials, the WHO and the US Centers for Disease Control, and with ample financial and material resources from Nigeria’s government, isolation wards were immediately constructed and, more slowly, designated Ebola treatment centres.

Health officials reached every single known person to have contact with infected people in Lagos and 99.8 per cent in Port Harcourt, Nigeria’s oil capital, where the disease was carried by an infected diplomat.

With 18,500 visits to 894 contacts, health workers tracked the progress of all who had come in contact with the disease.

In the end, Nigeria suffered 20 cases of Ebola and eight deaths, including those of two doctors and a nurse, the AP report said.

It noted that yesterday’s announcement came after 42 days passed—twice the disease’s maximum incubation period—since the last case in Nigeria tested negative.

“The outbreak in Nigeria has been contained,” Vaz said. “But we must be clear that we only won a battle. The war will only end when West Africa is also declared free of Ebola.”

According to the AP report, Vaz warned that Nigeria’s geographical position and extensive borders makes the country, Africa’s most populous of over 160 million people, vulnerable to additional imported cases of Ebola.

Nigerian officials are checking for such dangers at land, air and sea borders.

“We must remain vigilant,” said Hussaini Abdu, Nigeria’s country director for the charity ActionAid. “Ebola is a highly dangerous virus and we must stay alert to any signs of new infections so we can respond quickly and effectively.”
 

Lucianite

Registered User
Each country has to do its own evaluation - while we can learn from Nigeria, there are things like stopping immigration that might be feasible for TNT or any other caribbean island
 

DSP

Heri
so if a a man carrying ebola just beginning to get sick.. laughs with a man at a coffee shop in UK and spits on him accidentally and that man flies from Brussels to NY and that man sweats on a table or the another mans bag and that man shakes hand with someone destined to fly to T&T it will reach...

just saying...
 

Colors

STEADY WUK
I think it is more to the story as Nigeria being free of Ebola just like that.

Does Nigeria have a banned on other people from West Africa countries coming to their land?
Is their a more quarantine and preventive area in Nigeria than other countries?

Like I said there is more to this whole Ebola virus/disease than the health experts are telling us....and that is what has everyone on FEARBOLA status right now.
The Facts of Fearbola | Marty Kaplan
 

Socapro

Repect Our Soca Pioneers
so if a a man carrying ebola just beginning to get sick.. laughs with a man at a coffee shop in UK and spits on him accidentally and that man flies from Brussels to NY and that man sweats on a table or the another mans bag and that man shakes hand with someone destined to fly to T&T it will reach...

just saying...
If everyone is properly screened for Ebola before travelling and also on arrival at their destination then the spread of Ebola can be stopped in it’s tracks as far as it spreading to new countries is concerned.

T&T also needs to invest in proper infa-red cameras at our ports to help to screen visitors in addition to 21 days Ebola quarantine units to isolate people at in case we suspect that they could be an Ebola carrier.
 

TriniReporter

New member
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Nigeria?src=hash">#Nigeria</a> is <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Ebola?src=hash">#Ebola</a>-free: why Lagos didn't erupt with the pandemic. A report by <a href="https://twitter.com/globalvoices">@globalvoices</a> <a href="http://t.co/JOYsAWb0Qh">http://t.co/JOYsAWb0Qh</a> <a href="http://t.co/p2nTlpyPQg">pic.twitter.com/p2nTlpyPQg</a></p>— TheSouthAfrican.com (@TheSAnews) <a href="https://twitter.com/TheSAnews/status/524506709877080064">October 21, 2014</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
 

jamaicangirl

Boonoonoonoos
I think it is more to the story as Nigeria being free of Ebola just like that.

Does Nigeria have a banned on other people from West Africa countries coming to their land?
Is their a more quarantine and preventive area in Nigeria than other countries?

Like I said there is more to this whole Ebola virus/disease than the health experts are telling us....and that is what has everyone on FEARBOLA status right now.
The Facts of Fearbola####|####Marty Kaplan
What is your native language?
 

jamaicangirl

Boonoonoonoos
Nigeria's response is admirable. The two Texan nurses should never have been infected. The American authorities really dropped the ball.
 

Socapro

Repect Our Soca Pioneers
Just heard on news that after a cabinet meeting the T&T government has decided to lift the ban on Nigerians travelling to T&T from immediate effect because they have now been declared by WHO to be Ebola Free.

I also hope they take it a step further and invite the medical and security experts in Nigeria who helped to eliminate Ebola in Nigeria to T&T so we can get some good practical advice on how we should be proceeding with our Ebola prevention programme.
 

Socapro

Repect Our Soca Pioneers
TRAVEL BAN ON NIGERIANS LIFTED
Story Created: Oct 22, 2014 at 9:05 PM ECT (TV6 News)


<script src="http://player.bimvid.com/v2/vps/tv6/587a8de98a9f0eca0af272fbef5a96c6f17d27c0"></script>

As of now the travel ban against people from Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Democratic Republic of Congo remains in place as part of measures meant to keep Ebola from our shores.

But that is no longer the case for Nigeria as the Cabinet led by the Prime Minister, was convinced to make that decision since Nigeria has been declared Ebola free by the world's leading health body.
 
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