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Port Health Service intensifies Ebola surveillance: official

08 July 2015, 07:47

Abuja - Due to the reported new case of Ebola virus in Liberia, the Port Health Services (PHS) says it has intensified surveillance activities at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

An official of the PHS, who pleaded anonymity, revealed on Tuesday that Ebola surveillance activities were still ongoing, since Nigeria was declared Ebola-free.

She said that all passengers coming into the country and those travelling out were often screened before being allowed to enter or leave the airport.

The official said that activities were currently focused on the international wing of the airport because of limited number of staff at the airport.

She explained that the Federal Ministry of Health engaged the services of volunteers to be able to cover the domestic wing during the peak of the Ebola crises in 2014.

"We screen every passenger coming into the country and going out also mostly at the international wing, because the Port Health Services is short-staffed.

"The Ministry of Health actually engaged the services of volunteers to be able to cover both domestic and international wings during the peak of Ebola cases in the country.

"They were disengaged after Nigeria was declared Ebola-free; but following the reported new cases of the virus in Liberia now, the ministry is planning to re-engage those volunteers again.

Also read: Panel blames politics for botched UN Ebola response

"Up till now, if we screen you and your temperature is above 30 degrees, we subject you to secondary screening.

"We want to assure the public that we are thoroughly committed to preventing Ebola from coming into Nigeria again," the official said.

In a separate interview, Henrietta Yakubu, the Deputy General Manager of Public Affairs at the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), confirmed that the surveillance activities of the Port Health Services were still on.

Yakubu added that even though the activities had been relaxed at the domestic wing, the management has continued to provide hand sanitisers in all the toilets at the airport.

She said that with the new discovery of Ebola case in Liberia, the airport authority would redouble efforts to keep the airports safe.

In addition, a passenger, Halim Danladi, said that Ebola screening was still being carried out at the international wing of the airport, but noted that there was no such exercise at the domestic wing currently.

Danladi, however said that hand sanitisers were no longer on display at the airports as it was during the period of Ebola outbreak in the country.

He urged the Federal Government to put in place measures to prevent the outbreak of the virus in the country since Liberia was no longer free as expected.

"Surveillance activities should be intensified around airports, seaports and land borders, to avoid a repeat of what happened in 2014.

"Activities of Port Health Services should also be extended to local airports," he said.

Also, Doris Anyanwu, stressed the need to enhance Ebola surveillance again, to ensure that Nigeria remained free of Ebola virus.

Anyanwu also expressed concern that Ebola screening had been relaxed at the local airports and urged the airport authority to provide more hand sanitisers at different locations, as it was in the past.


Tags abuja ebola

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