23 September 2014

FCT: Residents Take Measures To End Ebola Spread


Residents of the FCT have begun to take steps towards stemming the spread of the Ebola virus. It was reported that the virus which has killed many people in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, is now a big threat to Nigeria. That it has killed about 1,900 people in West Africa is no longer news, but it has brought in its wake panic, sorrow, death, closure of schools and an imminent closure of the nation’s borders.
Following this development, the FCT administration and other agencies have stepped up measures to prevent the virus from spreading to the FCT – which hosts the seat of power and other top public officers – in order to ensure that the various health policies put in place by the FCT administration are not rubbished by the Ebola virus.

Not too long after the killer virus was detected to have arrived the shores of Nigeria, the FCT minister, Senator Bala Mohammed, constituted a high-powered technical committee to see to managing and curtailing the spread of the virus in the FCT and the designation of the Kuje General Hospital as the isolation centre for discovered cases in the capital – though residents of Kuje have not ceased to air their displeasure over the choice.

Although there are no confirmed cases of the break-out of the virus in the FCT, no one is taking any chances, as everyone now considers it a point of duty to protect themselves from the deadly virus. Also, the chairmen of the six area councils have taken to sensitising and educating their residents on observing simple hygiene in order to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.

When LEADERSHIP visited some hotels, agencies, private and public offices in the FCT, it was discovered that the management of most organisations have put in place measures like provision of hand-sanitisers and portable thermometer to screen any suspected victim carrying the virus in the FCT.

Donald Ukpom, one of private personnel responsible for checking the temperature of customers using digital thermometers check the temperature of visitors entering one of the city’s most prestigious hotels, revealed that the hotel management decided to take the preventive step, because, they do not want to be caught unawares if any of their visitors is detected to be a carrier of the deadly virus.

“Since the last Ebola episode in one of the big hotels in Port Harcourt, where a doctor had to treat an Ebola-infected person in the hotel room, our management has vowed not to allow such occur in our hotel. That is why we were given this portable thermometer to check the temperature of people from the gate before they enter the hotel premises.

“Even when they enter the premises, before they enter inside the hotel building they will still be screened at the entrance and when their temperature is higher than normal, they will be taken to an isolated area in the hotel and be given medical attention to find out the reason for the high temperature. We have been told not to allow anybody with abnormally high temperature into the hotel,” he said.

When LEADERSHIP visited the FCT secretariat and some other agencies, hand sanitisers could be seen mounted on the walls or placed on the receptionist’s table.

One of the senior officers in a private post office, Ms. Angelina Simon, revealed that the organisation’s staff have been educated on proper relations with customers – especially as relates to handshakes – which is why the bottles of sanitisers have been provided.

“It is good that we adhere to the sensitisation going on; that we should always use sanitisers to wash our hands as often as possible, because prevention is better than cure. We do not want to take chances. That is why we consider it our duty to educate our staff on the preventive measures to follow in combating the spread of the deadly virus.

“Although, there is no confirmed report of the virus’ presence in the FCT, we do not have to wait to hear anything before we take actions. Life has no duplicate, so we must do all it takes to maintain and protect the only one [life] we have. Our prayer is that this deadly disease leaves Nigeria completely and not come near the FCT,” she said.

A native of the FCT, Suleiman Mohammad, commended the steps residents are taking to protect themselves and fight against the spread of the deadly Ebola virus. Mohammed thinks that, save for the sensitisation programmes which have been going on, the virus would have spread far and wide.

“I will commend the FCT minister, Sen. Bala Mohammed for the steps taken against the spread of the virus and the initiation of sentisation programmes. This step has made it possible for even the illiterate in the most remote villages to know what Ebola is. The fear of the virus is now the beginning of wisdom for the rich, poor, educated and ignorant.

“I was surprise to see a man from one of the city’s remote villages demand for a sanitiser to rub his hands in one of the public offices in town. When I asked him why he needed it, he asked if I was ignorant of the spread of the Ebola virus in Nigeria. FCT residents are doing their best to protect themselves and I like it that way, because, it makes me feel safe,” Mohammed said.

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