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EBOLA: HONOURABLE MINISTER of PETROLEUM RESOURCES CALLS FOR CONCERTED ACTION. By: David Olorunleke

Left - Right: GM, JV Operations, Dr. Constance Moro, GM Services, Mr. Mohammed N. Abubakar and GM, PSC, Engr. James A. Jock, during the Oil and Gas Industry Joint session on Ebola outbreak held in Lagos

As the Federal Government of Nigeria grapples with the fight against Ebola epidemic, the Hon. Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison Madueke has called for concerted efforts by all sectors of the economy to compliment the federal government’s effort against the Ebola disease.

The Hon. Minister, who was represented by the Group General Manager, National Petroleum Investment Management Services (GGM, NAPIMS), Engr. Jonathan Kwame Okehs, made the call while addressing a joint session of the Oil & Gas industry with the Federal & States Ministries of Health & World Health Organization (W.H.O). She emphasized the need for urgent action to complement Government’s effort aimed at arresting the Ebola pandemic.

Observing that the swiftness of its spread is “faster than the harmattan fire”, she therefore, urged the Oil
& Gas industry to synergize with the Federal Government on its frantic efforts to save the nation and indeed humanity from the Ebola threat. The gathering which was held at the instance of the Hon. Minister of Petroleum Resources Mrs. Diezani Alison Madueke and organised by NNPC had in attendance representatives of the World Health Organization (WHO) led by Dr. Richard Banda and Dr. Faisal Shuaib of the Federal Ministry of Health, Lagos State Ministry of Health represented by Dr. Oguntimehin Olukayode, Commissioner for Health Ogun state, Dr. Soyinka Olaokun. Of course the NNPC presence was solid, ably led by the GGM NAPIMS, Engr. J. K. Okehs. Others were DPR, IOCs, local operators and other allied companies to Oil & Gas industry in Nigeria.

After the presentation by Dr. Faisal Shuaib, who stated that between July 20, 2014 when Mr. Patrick Sawyer from Liberia made his unfortunate landing in Lagos with the Ebola virus and today, Nigeria has recorded about 6 deaths with 320 people under surveillance while some have been certified free and are being reintegrated back into the society.

In the course of the program, three committees were formed namely, Information & Communication, Medical & Technical and Corporate Social Responsibility.

At the end of the session, it was agreed that there is an urgent need for the Oil & Gas sector to get involved in the struggle to contain Ebola spread and possibly eradicate the disease.

GGM, NAPIMS, Engr. J. K. Okehs (4th from left) flanked to the left by Md, MPN, Mr. Nolan O’neal, GM, Communication SPDC, Mr. Philip Mshelbila and the Medical Director, CNL, Dr. Bukola Fagade and to the right by DMD, Total, Mr. Charles Ngoka, MD, NAOC, Mr. Massimo Insulla, GGM Medical NNPC Headquarters, Dr. E. A. Bako and NLNG representative, Dr. J. Agada after the Oil and Gas Industry Joint session on Ebola outbreak held in Lagos

To this effect, a multi prong complimentary approach was to be adopted. First, is massive Public Awareness Campaign through the prints and electronic media, Bill boards, hand bills etc. Training of health workers and volunteers locally and if need be abroad is crucial.

Also crucial, is procurement and donation of Personal Protective Equipment and Ambulance vehicles. This equipment will include whole body decontaminants, goggles, gloves, masks, boots, sanitizers etc. Five (5) Ambulance vehicles to be stationed at major ports of entry; Airport, Seaport and other public places. Two Ambulances for Lagos state, one each for Abuja, Port- Harcourt and Enugu state. Also included, is a thousand units of Rapid infrared body temperature scanners (otherwise referred to as Non-contact Infrared Thermo Scanners) for rapid screening of large numbers of people at such places as Airport and other public places to help identify patients with fever for prompt evacuation and possible screening for Ebola.

Other important measures are the procurement of drugs, vaccines, acquisition and equipment, as well as upgrading of already acquired isolation places for quarantined victims and upgrading of laboratory centres with modern equipment to facilitate faster tests.

At present, the three laboratories being used are Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Redeemers’ University, and University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital. With an isolation unit in Yaba, Lagos state. Dr. Oguntimeyin of Lagos state Emergence Management Board explains that ‘’It takes about 6-10 hours to get a test result ready and the virus is transported through a cold chain system with ice bags to maintain its temperature since the virus is susceptible to heat.’’

These three centres have proved grossly inadequate to speedily respond to the magnitude of the threat posed by the Ebola Virus Disease to the country. May God save Nigeria.

© 2015 NAPIMS
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