Private sector stakeholders have solicited government’s support to adopt measures that would protect Nigeria from the resurgence of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) .
This was as the number of deaths from fresh Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) hit 33.
DRC Ministry of Health confirmed 13 new cases of Ebola in North Kivu Province, which borders Uganda and Rwanda, with further five probable cases noted in Ituri Province, bordering Uganda and South Sudan.
World Health Organisation (WHO) had confirmed 20 deaths last week, raising the alarm that cases from new Ebola outbreak were expected to rise in the coming days.
The private sector stakeholders in Nigeria said the rise in the outbreak called for urgent intervention to build a resilient health system with effective response mechanism.
They made their submission at a roundtable on health security in Nigeria, with focus on emergency preparedness and response to Ebola outbreak, organised by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in partnership with Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria (PHN).
Speaking at the event, Minister for Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said Ebola outbreak was inevitable in Nigeria, as “the country is susceptible” due to certain factors.
Poor infrastructure, climate change, inadequate human resources, conflicts among other factors expose the country to dangers of Ebola outbreak, he said.
Adewole, who launched the Alliance For Epidemic Preparedness and Response (A4EPR) initiative, said Nigeria was fortunate to contain the last Ebola outbreak, which cost it about N3.8 billion, noting that all hands must be on deck to strengthen surveillance and response to the epidemic.
Chief Executive Officer of NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, described the A4EPR initiative as a strategic plan to enhance the ability of Nigeria’s health system to prevent, control, detect, respond and control disease outbreaks.