Earth Watch Report – Epidemic Hazards
|31.03.2013||Epidemic Hazard||Nigeria||River State, Port Harcourt [University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital]|
|Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Sampson Parker, hasEpidemic Hazard in Nigeria on Sunday, 31 March, 2013 at 20:01 (08:01 PM) UTC.
in the state. Parker, weekend, in Port Harcourt, said the victim, a 33-year- old man, died a few days ago at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital. He said: “Just a few days ago, my attention was drawn to the isolation of the virus in a suspected case and we lost the patient.” He said that the state government was poised to tackle any outbreak of the disease in the state. “For this purpose, at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, a multi-disciplinary task force has already fashioned an integrated approach to ensure that the disease was contained,” he added. He said the government had acquired adequate drugs to combat the ailment, pleading with residents to keep their environments free from rats and dirt.
|Biohazard name:||Lassa Fever|
|Biohazard level:||4/4 Hazardous|
|Biohazard desc.:||Viruses and bacteria that cause severe to fatal disease in humans, and for which vaccines or other treatments are not available, such as Bolivian and Argentine hemorrhagic fevers, H5N1(bird flu), Dengue hemorrhagic fever, Marburg virus, Ebola virus, hantaviruses, Lassa fever, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, and other hemorrhagic or unidentified diseases. When dealing with biological hazards at this level the use of a Hazmat suit and a self-contained oxygen supply is mandatory. The entrance and exit of a Level Four biolab will contain multiple showers, a vacuum room, an ultraviolet light room, autonomous detection system, and other safety precautions designed to destroy all traces of the biohazard. Multiple airlocks are employed and are electronically secured to prevent both doors opening at the same time. All air and water service going to and coming from a Biosafety Level 4 (P4) lab will undergo similar decontamination procedures to eliminate the possibility of an accidental release.|
By Jimitota Onoyume
Port Harcourt – Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Sampson Parker, has confirmed the death of one patient from Lassa fever in the state.
Parker, weekend, in Port Harcourt, said the victim, a 33-year- old man, died a few days ago at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital.
He said: “Just a few days ago, my attention was drawn to the isolation of the virus in a suspected case and we lost the patient.”
He said that the state government was poised to tackle any outbreak of the disease in the state.
“For this purpose, at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, a multi-disciplinary task force has already fashioned an integrated approach to ensure that the disease was contained,” he added.
He said the government had acquired adequate drugs to combat the ailment, pleading with residents to keep their environments free from rats and dirt.
By Francis Okeke, 11 March 2013
In this interview, President of the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) and head of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) Comrade Ayuba Wabba reiterates the call for the resignation or sack of the Minister of Health Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, challenges and solutions to effective healthcare delivery in the country.
The Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) recently issued a statement on the crisis in the health sector and the need for the Minister of Health to resign. Do you think his resignation or sack is the best way out of the crisis?
Certainly, we are still insisting that the minister should honourably resign. Our struggle as you are aware is a struggle towards the welfare and wellbeing of our members and also campaign for quality health service.
Throughout this struggle, we have not in any way derailed as purportedly put into the media by agents which I can say are of the minister. This we have proven beyond reasonable doubt. The fact also is that the minister ought to address the issues which have led to where we are today. That is, our collective bargaining agreement of 2010, no more no less.
To join issues and begin to sponsor falsehoods like they did in the publication of Thisday Newspaper of 21st January, 2013 entitled “JOHESU has derailed” putting imaginary names that don’t exist is most unfortunate.
Public officers must take full responsibility for their actions and inactions. I have said times without number that this is the worst of times in Nigerian healthcare delivery and I have my reasons.
One; diseases that have been eradicated in the pass are emerging now. One clear example is Lassa fever; Lassa fever had been eradicated and controlled years back but suddenly, it is re-emerging. That is to tell you that our healthcare system is not doing well.
Second is the issue of measles and many other communicable diseases which can be controlled and prevented. All those issues point to the fact that our healthcare delivery system is not doing well.
Therefore, who should be responsible because Mr. President has delegated responsibility to the minister to make sure that healthcare delivery system in Nigeria reaches its highest peak. This is not the situation now; in fact its nose diving at a very fast rate. Those are the issues; it is not about being sentimental.
What have you done to disabuse the minds of members of the public with regards to the misleading publication against your members?
We don’t want to join issues with persons that want to score a cheap point. Our thinking is that such propaganda would have died with the military. We thought that with the political dispensation, the constitution makes it very clear that every citizen has a right to advance his interest and also canvass for issues in a democratic setting in a peaceful manner and that is what the health workers have been doing. However, we have directed our lawyers to take the matter to court.
We have been very peaceful, every action we have taken, we first communicate to the minister in writing and in most situations we don’t receive response. All issues we communicate directly to the president, to the security agencies, and we inform them of what is happening. It is also very clear that if care is not taken, the health situation in Nigeria, by the time it completely nosedived, it will take a lot of efforts and resources for it to be resuscitated. We still maintain our call for the minister to honourably take a bow and for the Federal Government to look for people that are competent enough to be able to drive any transformation agenda in the health sector.
It is obvious the minister has refused to heed your call, what other strategy do you have?
Our agitation and our engagement have of recent been actually directed at the president because he is the head of all the agencies in the country and therefore appoints whoever he deems fit to drive the process of change and transformation in all the ministries. The ministers are directly answerable to him, so if for any reason a minister is not performing as in the case of Onyebuchi Chukwu; even in the newspapers you can see the analysis of ministries’ performances, he happens to be the least, it is our thinking that certainly Mr. President needs to act very fast so that the situation does not degenerate. I am convinced beyond reasonable doubt that if performance is the yardstick of making sure that ministers and people in government retain their positions, then Onyebuchi Chukwu’s days are numbered in government.