Abuja - The Federal Ministry of Health on Monday started training volunteers to be sent to help to contain the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Linus Awute, made the disclosure at the opening of The Ebola Containment Training in Lagos.
Awute, represented by Prof. Abdulsalami Nasidi, Director, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), said that there were 504 volunteers.
Nasidi said the first batch of the trainees were 250 people drawn from all over the country, adding that almost 98 per cent of them participated in containing the EVD in Nigeria.
"They are mostly from Lagos and Rivers states. In addition, Lagos is contributing 28 doctors who are not part of the training to join in the containment,’’ he said.
Awute said the first ever EVD in West Africa started in Guinea and was first reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) in March 2014.
"Since then, the outbreak has spread to Liberia, Sierre Leone, Nigeria and Senegal.
"This current outbreak attributed to EV Zaire strain is the most extensive outbreak of Ebola, affecting multiple countries, including Nigeria.
"The total case counts and deaths are well beyond the cumulative total of all cases from previous known outbreaks, since its discovery in 1976’’.
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He noted that a confirmed outbreak of EVD was declared in Nigeria on July 22.
"An effective multi-sectorial response was mobilised to contain the outbreak . The nation is now without a case of EVD and has been declared free by WHO on October 20.
"Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea still harbour this deadly disease along the West African Coast.
"In view of this, all the ECOWAS countries are still at risk since our borders are not restricted and WHO has not announced closure of borders.
"These Ebola infected countries are our neighbors and we need to assist them so that the coast can be free of the disease,’’ he said.
He commended the health workers for having shown the spirit of togetherness by making up their minds to assist our neighbouring countries.