AS FG ORDERS ZMAPP EBOLA DRUG
If what the federal government is trying to do is to be one of the centres to test the efficacy of the drug, I think that is well meaning, that is commendable and we should encourage the Federal Government to take that action
August 6, 2014 – Governors of the South-western states in Nigeria have backed efforts by the Federal Government to use Nigeria as one of the trial centres for the Zmapp Ebola drug. The drug is manufactured by the San Diego based Zmapp Pharmaceutical Inc.
The drug is presently being used at the Emory University Hospital, United States in the treatment of Dr. Kenth Brantley and Nancy Writebol two Americans who were taking care of Ebola Virus Disease(EVD) patients in Liberia where they contracted the disease.
The two patients are reported to be doing well in the US after receiving doses of the drug. Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu and that of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku had announced at a press conference in Abuja that the Federal Government has placed order for the drug through the Centre for Disease Control in America.
The meeting was attended by Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, that of Ogun State, Mr. Ibikunle Amosun, that and that of Ondo State, Mr. Olusegun Mimiko and that of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Mr. Moses Alake Adeyemo.
While addressing State House correspondents after the meeting, Fayemi said those present discussed the trial drug and other issues, adding that though the Federal Drug Administration(FDA) in the US is yet to approve it, efforts to try the drug on Nigerians already infected with the disease is quite commendable.
“We have heard that there is a test drug that is currently being applied to the doctor who was taken from Liberia to Emory University Hospital in the USA and is being treated there and has some impact on his improvement. But this is still a drug that is on trial.
“From what we gathered, it has been tested on animals, but it has not been tested on humans yet, except for this particular case and there are processes a country has to go through to procure drugs that are still on trial.
“Even the FDA has not certified this drug for use yet and if we are going to access it at all, my own limited knowledge of this process is that it can only be a controlled trial centre for it at this stage, it can’t be a certified drug for use. If what the federal government is trying to do is to be one of the centres to test the efficacy of the drug, I think that is well meaning, that is commendable and we should encourage the FG to take that action”, he said.
In his address, Amosun called on the Federal Government to assist the states in policing the borders since it is the primary responsibility of the Federal Government. He said there are over 100 illegal entries into Ogun State adding many will explore these point of entries since it is now fashionable to ban flights to and from Ebola prone countries.
“Two weeks ago, NMA was having their week and I did mention that Ogun state and some other states have all these illegal borders. We are more prone and more at risk really in this Ebola virus than so many others and I did mention that we have put all our security agencies and the respective medics at these illegal borders.
“But when you have in excess of 100, you and I know that the state doesn’t have the capacity really in manning these borders. Indeed, it is not our responsibility in manning these borders, we should collaborate with the FG which is what we are doing. As of the last, we have about 70(illegal borders) that you can take containers and trailers and what have you, even on a normal day, people hardly use the official borders, it is the illegal ones that you see them packing all those smuggled cars and now it becomes more worrisome by the time you look at the fact that everybody now is taking proactive measures of banning flights.
“So, if people cannot fly, you know obviously they would find a way in entering the country, that is why we are calling on the the federal government to assist us. We need men and materials to man those borders. As we speak we have about 68 Hilux vans manning those borders and not just vehicles alone, we need the man power of immigration, customs and even our medics have to be there. And that is why I have been shouting that we need help if we are going to succeed in the prevention of this Ebola virus and we have agreed that we would interface with the federal government to see what they are doing.
“Don’t forget that this disease has been localized more or less and everybody agrees that it is within this west African sub-region and of course we have that access where people can come in easily . as we speak we have our men on ground but we are being stretched to breaking point now and this was some of the things we have been discussing that there is no way we can continue or cope. We do not have the wherewithal to man those borders”, the Ogun State Governor said.
Earlier in his interview, the host governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State said the governors have met with Commissioners for Health in the south west states on collaboration in the management of the Ebola Virus.
“Essentially, we have addressed issues of containment and the challenges of illegal borders, we have felt the need to express appreciation to health workers who have taken responsibility from the front by attending to people who are showing symptoms and people who are suspected of having contact with the very first case that was reported in a man who came in from Liberia.
“All of what we have now are primarily related to that very first case and all the suspicious cases that have been confirmed and sicknesses that have followed are directed related to that first case:, he said and appealed to the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) to call off ongoing strike in humanitarian interest for the purpose of containing what is a current emergency situation so that we can put this matter behind us”, he said.
He appealed to Nigerians not to panic adding that Nigeria would overcome Ebola with the very best practices and collaboration.
“It is important therefore that advocacy must continue about what the risks are and the sources are”, he said. While throwing his weight behind the collaboration and the need for the Federal Government to come to the aid of the state, Mimiko said the responsibility of manning the borders remains the responsibility of every Nigerian since those who aid and abate illegal entry into Nigeria could be up to something that could be dangerous.
“So everybody must take responsibility of combating this new challenge as a nation and it is very important for the message to go out”, the Ondo State Governor said.
Edited by Emmanuel Thomas