August 12, 2014 – The National Council of Health has approved Life Insurance cover for medical doctors and health workers who volunteer to assist in attending to Nigerians infected with the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).
The decision to provide life insurance cover for health workers was part of the resolution of the meeting held August 11, 2014 in Abuja, Nigeria.
The National Council on Health is the highest policy making body in the health sector and it comprises Honourable Minister of Health as Chairman, Minister of State for Health, the Commissioners for Health in the States and the Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, as members with the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health as Secretary of the Council.
The council called on members of the Nigerian Medical Association(NMA) to call off strikes in the interest of Nigerians.
The council noted that Nigeria remained an Ebola Virus free country until this incidence of importation and unfortunate contamination that occurred on July 20th, 2014, adding that it has been 22 days since EVD first landed in Nigeria and that to date, 177 primary and secondary contacts of the index case have been placed under surveillance, with 9 having developed EVD, bringing the total number of cases in Nigeria to 10.
“Of these 10, 2 have died (the Liberian American and the Nigerian nurse) while 8 are alive and are currently being managed in Lagos”, the council noted.
See resolution arrived at below.
Council in session arrived at the following resolutions:
1. State Governments are to institutionalise communication strategy to ensure mass awareness creation and sensitisation for individuals and communities on EVD. Council directed that particular attention should be paid to vulnerable groups such as market women and other women groups, patent medicine vendors, road transport workers, fishermen in the riverine areas, hunters and bush meat sellers, school children, morticians and mortuary attendants, traditional healers and faith based groups;
I Council observed that Emergency Operations Centres remain the responsibility of the Federal Government. However, Council urged States to establish communication channels as necessary that address general and peculiar needs in each State/FCT;
iii. Council directed the Federal Ministry Health to provide State Ministries of Health and HHSS FCTA as well as military and para-military groups with support to strengthen training of health care workers at the State and LGA levels on proper infection control and EVD containment strategies;
iv. Council directed Federal, State Ministries of Health as well as Health & Human Services Secretariat of the Federal Capital Territory Administration to provide adequate incentives to health workers who participate in the management of EVD patients to encourage them to be active in the containment of the EVD. Council further directed that they should be provided with life insurance coverage;
v. Council directed that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) should re-circulate protocols and SOPs for management of EVD cases as well as protocol for submitting samples to the laboratories and burying of EVD victims. The Federal Government should provide specifications and support States with special Personal Protective Equipment (PPE);
vi. Council also directed the Federal Ministry of Health to support the establishment of additional laboratories for EVD management and also directed the NCDC to conduct detailed mapping of location, capacities and categorization of existing laboratories to inform this scale up plan
vii. Council directed that the Federal Ministry of Health, State Ministries of Health and HHSS FCTA are to devise means of ensuring that private sector health providers are sensitized and cases with high index of suspicion are promptly referred;
viii. The Port Health Services Division of the Federal Ministry of Health to provide and ensure the implementation of guidelines for cross border monitoring of EVD, particularly in riverine areas and states with international borders; states that have riverine areas are to ensure the provision of boat ambulances suitable for EVD control;
ix. Council directed Navy, Customs and Immigration services to collaborate with the Port Health Services to strengthen of boarder monitoring and patrol for EVD;
x. Council directed further engagement to discuss challenges and proffer solutions to address EVD should be held between the Federal Ministry of Health and States with peculiar security challenges including but not limited to Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Kano, Taraba, and Yobe;
xi. Council directed the Federal Government to make whole body scanners at all the available at designated Ports of Entry; it also directed that the Federal Government should assist states to establish isolation tents that would cater for at least 20 people;
xii. Council resolved that ideally all corpses should be accompanied with death certificates. All States are to be encouraged to have legislation to support this resolution. The corpses of all persons confirmed to have died of EVD must be buried according to standard WHO protocol;
xiii. Council further directed that the Transportation of Corpses into Nigeria as well as inter-state transportation be banned until further notice except with approved waivers that may be issued by the Federal Ministry of Health;
xiv. Council urged the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) to suspend its strike forthwith and contribute its quota in the ongoing response to this national health emergency.
Council extended its appreciation to Mr. President as well as the State Governors/Minister of Federal Capital Territory Administration for the unprecedented political support they are providing Council in this difficult period.
Council assured Mr. President, Governors of the States as well as Hon. Minister FCTA that will do all that is necessary to ensure that EVD is contained in Nigeria.
Council also conveyed its appreciation to all the Hon. Commissioners for Health/FCTA HHSS Secretary and their delegates for the commitment they have demonstrated in containing the spread of the EVD.
Council appreciated the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Makufor his invaluable time in coming to address them and his efforts insensitizing the public and creating awareness about the EVD.
Council further appreciated the Federal Ministry of Health, the NCDC, Port Health Services Division, Lagos State Government, WHO, US-CDC, for their efforts so far in controlling the EVD