#MEMORY LANE: July 20th;Ebola Virus Disease and The Giant of Africa(Nigeria).

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July 20th is a day that will never be forgotten in the Healthcare history of Nigeria or the giant of Africa,as many National enthusiasts call her. Today marks 3 years since the deadly hemorrhagic(bloody) Ebola virus found it's way into Nigeria to cause one of the greatest healthcare scare that my generation has ever witnessed. The outcome was 20 cases and 8 very sad deaths,including late Dr Ameyo Adadevo,the Chief of the in-house managing team- now considered to be a National Heroine-for blowing the whistle and stepping her feet down to ensure that quarantine measures were attempted after a high index of suspicion for the index case.
Late Dr.Ameyo Adadevo

 The virus had been rocking the boats of other neighbouring West African countries dangerously and the death toll was fast climbing. If you were one of those that read my first Blog ever  in early 2014 (drkevwe.com -no longer exists),you would be witness to the fact that myself and some of my colleagues had warned of the possibilities of inter-regional spread and had advised that vital measures be put in place geared towards "emergency preparedness". I can no longer remember if I was the Medical Officer on Call that faithful day, in the popular Hospital I worked in Lagos,just a few minutes from First Consultant Hospital Obalende,where the index case was rushed to straight from the airport but I was particularly touched because fast forward to a few days later, the news of Mr Patrick Sawyer's arrival in Nigeria and consequently Ebola virus disease hit the airwaves and those of us who worked around realised very much that the exposure story and mortality that followed suit could have been any of us:from Senior to Junior clinical staff who would have been involved in that management had the case presented at our professional Door steps.

Hand sanitisers became scarce commodity and the universal precaution hygiene culture of hand washing rose to a sky-top peak, after members of the general public realised that transmission was by coming in contact with body fluids of infected persons and that hand sanitisation at every opportunity could reduce the risk of getting infected. The clinical community went to town with trying to inform members of the general public about signs and symptoms and those of us in the media made sure to disseminate vital information when ever on air. I remember sitting on a discussion panel of an NTA International Programme alongside,Prof. Innocent Ujah, the then Director General of The Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, just to ensure that members of the general public were well informed about the signs and symptoms to enable early and prompt reporting of suspected cases.

The appropriate state/National Health authorities sprang into action in partnership with the World Health Organisation(WHO) and with an utmost sense of responsibility,by the end of August/ beginning of September 2014 and since then, no new cases have been reported.  Major treatment modality for those who survived proved to be mainly supportive,even if a WHO sponsored trial vaccine in Guinea later showed major promise towards prevention,alongside contact racing and appropriate lifestyle modification. Up until today an outright cure has not been established for the disease but vital lessons have been learnt worldwide. Have we stopped washing our hands as a Nation? Have we gone back to sleep with regards to emergency preparedness? Can Ebola virus disease resurface on the shores of the most populous Nation in Africa? My candid answer to all these questions will be,"I HOPE NOT" but to ensure this as a Nation,"WE MUST ALWAYS BE READY". For more/better details and information about the disease condition and National/Continental/Global responses, consult the References below.


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