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Ebola: FG Bans Inter-state Movement Ofcorpses

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1 Ebola: FG Bans Inter-state Movement Ofcorpses on 13th August 2014, 11:19 am


Ebola has so far killed at least 95 people in
Guinea and spread to several neighbouring
countries | credits: AFP
The National Council on Health has banned the
transport of corpses and critically ill persons on both
local and international routes with immediate effect.
It said only dead bodies with waivers granted by the
Federal Ministry of Health would be transported
within and into Nigeria . Such corpses must be
conveyed only in ambulances.
To show its seriousness on the movement of corpses,
the council advised state governments to enact
legislation for its effective compliance .
The NCH which is the highest policy making body in
the health sector reached the decision after a
meeting in Abuja on Tuesday.
Members of the council are the Minister of Health,
the Minister of State for Health; state Health
commissioners ; the Secretary of Health and Human
Services in the Federal Capital Territory , and the
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health.
As the Minister of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu, briefed
journalists on the outcome of the meeting, the World
Health Organisation said it had approved the use of
trial drugs such as the ZMapp serum by persons
infected with the Ebola Virus Disease.
Chukwu explained that the council deliberated
extensively on strategies to contain the spread of the
EVD beyond those who had primary contact with the
late Liberian, Patrick Sawyer, who brought the virus
to Nigeria.
He said since it had been established that the
disease could only be spread through contact with
either the corpse of someone who died of the virus or
anyone who became sick as result of the viral
infection, necessary steps had to be taken .
The minister added, “The corpses of all persons
confirmed to have died of EVD must be buried
according to WHO standard protocol.
“Council further directed that the transport of
corpses into Nigeria as well as inter-state transport
be banned until further notice except with approved
waivers that may be issued by the Federal Ministry of
To ensure immediate compliance with the ban,
Chukwu briefed the leadership of the National Union
of Road Transport Workers and the National Road
Transport Owners on the council’s decisions.
He told those whose vehicles ply international routes
to demand medical reports from sick passengers
before accepting to carry them to Nigeria.
Chukwu added that corpses from other nations must
have waivers from the FMW and must be carried in
only ambulances.
He said, “From today, don’t allow any sick person to
enter your vehicle again except he or she produces a
medical report which should contain the nature of
the ailment and the fact that other passengers will
not be infected. Only the dead and the sick can
transmit the(Ebola) disease
“Secondly, don’t carry any corpse unless you have
the waiver which is obtainable only from the Federal
Ministry of Health, duly signed by the Minister. So
you must demand to see a waiver from anybody who
may ask you to carry a dead person .
“Find out from the ministry, the authenticity of the
waiver in case you are in doubt. Without a waiver, we
will not allow you to enter Nigeria and your vehicle
will be impounded because Ebola disease is
transmitted mainly by someone who died of the virus
and infected persons .”
The minister also advised drivers and owners of
commercial vehicles to insist that passengers must
henceforth fill correctly, their names, next of kins,
phone numbers and their seat numbers in manifests.
He said that a protocol officer who obliged the late
Sawyer the use of his mobile telephone contacted the
virus while 10 members of a family died of EVD in
Sierra Leone after they had buried an infected
Representatives of the two transport bodies, Ayoola
Sadiku of NARTO and Alhaji Dansaki Sulaiman of the
NURTW, pledged to convey the minister’s message to
their members.
They assured the minister of immediate compliance
with the directives .
Meanwhile, the NCH has urged the Nigerian Medical
Association to suspend its strike and contribute to
the ongoing response to the national health
It directed state governments to institutionalise
communication strategies to ensure mass awareness
of the EVD.
The council also wants particular attention to be paid
to vulnerable groups such as market women and
other women groups, patent medicine vendors, road
transport workers, fishermen, hunters and bushmeat
sellers, schoolchildren, morticians and mortuary
attendants as well as traditional healers and faith
based groups.
It also noted that Emergency Operation Centres
remained the responsibility of the Federal
In Geneva, Switzerland, WHO said on Tuesday that
the approval for the use of the trial drugs was the
most ethical thing to do considering the fact that
Ebola had killed over 1,000 persons in West Africa in
seven months.
The global health body added in a statement
released after scientists met to discuss the threat of
the disease to humanity at its headquarters in
Geneva on Monday, however, warned that there were
very limited supplies of potential treatments for
infected persons.
The scientists also discussed how some protocols
that pharmaceutical companies needed to go
through before giving the drugs to patients could be
A WHO official, Dr Marie-Paule Kieny, said the
medical experts voted overwhelmingly in support of
giving the trial drugs to affected persons.
The organisation noted that where experimental
treatments were used, scientists must get the
consent of the patient and the results of the
treatment must be collated and shared among the
medical community.
The statement read ,”In the particular circumstances
of this outbreak, and provided certain conditions are
met, the panel reached consensus that it is ethical to
offer unproven interventions with as yet unknown
efficacy and adverse effects, as potential treatment
or prevention.”
The statement was however silent on who would bear
the cost of the treatment.
The Nigerian and Liberian governments had earlier
requested that Zmapp, which was given to two
American health workers infected with the Ebola
virus be offered affected victims in their countries.
However, there are only 12 doses of the serum,
according to WHO.
But in Lagos, doctors in public hospitals called on the
state government to equip all its hospitals with
adequate Personal Protective Equipment to prevent
the spread of the virus .
The doctors under the aegis of the Medical Guild, said
infection control equipment should not be limited to
the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba as any patient
could present the disease in any other hospital in the
Their Chairman, Dr. Biyi Kufo, said a news conference
on Tuesday that adequate facilities would help to
protect workers from contracting the virus.
He said,“We are not sure there is adequate Personal
Protective Equipment on ground from what we are
gathering from our colleagues at the IDH.
“It is the foot soldiers who feel the battle. We work in
these facilities and we are aware of the situation on
the ground. If adequate protective measures are put
in place, doctors can treat patients without fear.”
Abuja airport gets emergency response station
The National Emergency Management Agency has
deployed an emergency Response Intervention
Vehicle and Mobile Intensive Care Unit ambulance in
the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
It said the deployment would enhance swift response
to any emergency situation in the airport.
The Director-General, NEMA, Mr. Sani Sidi, in a
statement, said the action was in furtherance of the
collaboration between the agency and stakeholders
in the aviation sector for greater safety in the airports
and its environs.
Sidi, who was represented by the Deputy Director,
Search and Rescue, Mr. Vincent Owan, said the newly
acquired equipment would be jointly operated by
officials of NEMA and the Federal Airport Authority of
The Managing Director of FAAN, Mr. Saleh Dunoma,
who was represented by the General Manager, North
Central, Oluwole Osituyo, appreciated NEMA for
deploying the equipment.
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