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Striking Nigerian Doctors Offer Help On Ebola

The Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, has promised to provide public enlightenment campaigns as well as assist in diagnosing possible victims, as its contribution to containing the spread of the Ebola virus disease.

The chairman of the Lagos chapter of the association, Tope Ojo, while briefing journalists on Tuesday, was however quick to clarify that this act does not mean a suspension the doctors’ industrial action which in its 36th day.

He said that some doctors would be carrying out advocacy visits to the markets and other public places to enlighten people while others have also volunteered to participate in diagnosis of cases of Ebola.

The first case of ebola in Nigeria is that of Patrick Sawyerr, who imported the disease from Liberia to Lagos. He died on July 25.

Meanwhile the female doctor who treated him has also been confirmed to be infected with the virus, while eight other probable persons have been quarantined.

Ojo claims that NMA members are involved in the contact tracing; “As you may be aware, NMA in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health, Lagos State Ministry of Health, WHO, UNICEF and CDC have constituted a rapid response team that has been coordinated and addressing the issue, contacting the people that had direct contact with the victim, Mr Patrick Sawyer.”

Although there had been misgivings about the strike, a member of the Rapid Response Team, Oyewale Tomori, a professor of Virology, observed that but for the doctors’ work to rule action, Sawyerr would have been taken to a public hospital and, giving the high human traffic at such a place, more people could have been at risk.

By World Health Organisation estimated, the Ebola disease had killed about 800 people while there were 1,323 suspected or confirmed cases of infections mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Nigeria has had only one fatality and two confirmed cases of the disease.

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