(Geneva,GNA) – The World Health Organisations (WHO) says Senegal and Nigeria offers a test case for the world on how to deal with the devastating infections of the Ebola virus.
The two countries have demonstrated to any other country in Africa or elsewhere in the world that, it’s possible, through vigorous procedures of taking care of patients, strict infection control system in the health care facilities, to stop the spread of the Ebola virus.
Dr Isabelle Nuttall, WHO Director of Global Capacities, Alert and Response Health Security and Environment, told the Ghana News Agency in an interview at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday.
The WHO declared Nigeria and Senegal Ebola free recently based on its recommendations that a country can be declared Ebola free with the expiration of 42 days without any recorded new cases.
According to WHO, the 42 days represents twice the maximum incubation period for Ebola. The 42 day period starts from the last day that any person in the country had contact with a confirmed or probable Ebola case.
Dr Nuttall said in health crises, where there are so many cases, it is difficult to control, that is why WHO has adopted measures to manage the situation in the three most affected countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
On the question of whether WHO is overwhelmed with the rapid spread of the Ebola virus, and therefore panicking, Dr Nuttall explained that the role of WHO is to continue providing technical advice in terms of public health interventions, working with partners and being able to continue to monitor the situation in order to provide information to stop the spread.
She said normally WHO needs many more people to come and assist, but unfortunately right now the world body does not have the number of both international and national staffs required to provide support to the three countries.
“We are not able to meet the needs in terms of bed, treatment, logistical support, and this is why it was necessary for the WHO to work with United Nations agencies and many other partners to deal with the situation,” she said.
To augment the shortages, in terms of health professions, the WHO said apart from training medical staffs in the affected countries, WHO has recruited some staffs from other countries, including South America.
Dr Nuttall said the medical team has been trained before being allowed to go to these countries.
“All medical staffs are considered as front liners to the three affected countries are trained to understand and be clear of the task, what to do and what not to do, how to protect both themselves and the patients.
“The training is tailored to meet each other’s requirement and task on the field…” she said. It was learnt that most of the states were drawing up strategies to prevent the spread of the disease and are working to ensure that the virus remains at one place.
The GNA information indicates that Nigeria adopted proactive strict control measures to deal with the situation, which includes quarantining all nurses who had contact with the first Ebola victim in Nigeria, Patrick Sawyer, at the Infectious Disease Hospital.
Other measures are putting people under surveillance, screening of travellers, procurement of equipment and other protective medical facilities for use by health workers, which were posted to strategic areas to screen and possibly detect people with the Ebola virus.
Health workers were also provided with protective equipment so that they can adequately handle the issues.
Image credit:Martial Trezzini / Associated Press
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