News / Africa

Nigeria Faces Possible Ebola Outbreak Amid National Doctors’ Strike

Heather Murdock

In the midst of a national doctors' strike, Nigerian authorities are now working to prevent an outbreak of Ebola, after the country’s first patient died last week. The strike leaves Nigeria's hospitals unprepared to treat or contain the disease if it begins to spread.
 
Doctors said Nigerian hospitals were in a state of near collapse, and they would strike until the government supplied them with enough resources to adequately treat their patients.
 

Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
x
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Analysts said in terms of hospital needs, the doctors were right.  

“Some of the equipment they use are obsolete.  Researches are not implemented and actually they are not proactive,”  said Okeoghene Eboibi, who heads the engineering department at Delta State Polytechnic. He said the state of the hospitals was all the more frightening since the threat of an Ebola outbreak emerged in Nigeria last week.

Growing concerns

Patrick Sawyer, a Liberian official, flew into the country from Liberia early last week. His plane stopped in Ghana and Togo before he arrived in Nigeria, where he was quarantined immediately. A few days later, he died of Ebola in Lagos, a crowded mega-city of 21 million people.
 
Ebola, one of the world’s deadliest diseases, has killed nearly 700 people in West Africa since an outbreak began early this year. Eboibi said if it spread to Nigeria -- Africa's most populous country with many crowded cities -- the result would be terrifying.

“I’m worried for big cities in Nigeria like Lagos, Abuja, Kano, because government may not be able to control the outbreak if it’s not prevented,” he said.
 
Officials said they were trying to prevent an epidemic by locating all the people who came into contact with Sawyer. So far, they have found 59 people that had contact with him, and none have yet tested positive for Ebola.  

(L-R) Lateef Aderemi Ibirogba, Lagos' State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, sits with Dr. Jide Idris, the Commissioner for Health, during a news conference on the death of an Ebola victim in Lagos, July 25, 2014.(L-R) Lateef Aderemi Ibirogba, Lagos' State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, sits with Dr. Jide Idris, the Commissioner for Health, during a news conference on the death of an Ebola victim in Lagos, July 25, 2014.
x
(L-R) Lateef Aderemi Ibirogba, Lagos' State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, sits with Dr. Jide Idris, the Commissioner for Health, during a news conference on the death of an Ebola victim in Lagos, July 25, 2014.
(L-R) Lateef Aderemi Ibirogba, Lagos' State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, sits with Dr. Jide Idris, the Commissioner for Health, during a news conference on the death of an Ebola victim in Lagos, July 25, 2014.

But Lagos State Heath Commissioner Jide Idris said many more could be out there.

“In collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Aviation I've also put into motion mechanisms to track down all contacts at high risk,” said Idris.

Making preparations

He said the government was also trying to prepare for an outbreak, by screening travelers when they entered the country, by spreading information about the disease to the public, and by building an isolation unit in Lagos.

Ebola Factbox

Outbreaks of Ebola are life-threatening and in up to 90% of cases, people die.

  • In most instances, outbreaks have occurred in remote villages of Central andWest Africa, close to tropical rainforests
  • The virus is transmitted to humans from wild animals and spreads human-to-human through exposure to organs, blood and other bodily fluids
  • Presently no specific treatment or vaccine is available for people, nor for animals

Content sourced from World Health Organization

 

But these tasks are complicated by the refusal of doctors to end their strike, which began nearly a month ago.

Atonyebe Oyede, a Nigerian civil servant, said the government was doing everything it can, but preventing the spread of the disease amid the chaos of Nigeria’s health care system would require an act of God.
 
“You see that this Ebola outbreak, other African countries we have experienced it, but here in Nigeria we live by faith,” said Oyede.
 
The Nigerian Medical Association says if there is an outbreak, the union has “structures in place to respond to emergencies.”  But with doctors themselves getting the disease in other countries, many Nigerians also wonder, if there is an outbreak, if an end to the strike would be much help.

Hilary Uguru contributed to this report from the Niger Delta.

 

 

You May Like

Arab League Delays Forming Joint Force

Delay grows out of one of original obstacles facing pan-Arab force, analysts say: 'They may agree on the principle, but they continue to argue about how to implement the project' More

Pakistan Demands Afghanistan Protect Its Kabul Mission, Staff

Officials in Islamabad say Afghan agents are harassing Pakistani embassy personnel, particularly those living outside of mission’s compound More

US Survey: Trump Lead Grows in Republican Presidential Contest

Quinnipiac University poll shows brash billionaire real estate mogul with 28 percent support among Republican voters More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: larry moss from: akwa ibom
August 01, 2014 1:44 AM
the increase rates of uncurable diseases such as these is no surprise 2 bible student, the bible vividly pointed out dat in d last days critical tyms hard to deal with will b here, were we expecting something less? instead of resting our fuul hope in human government 4 a complete solution 2 our predicament is time we turn our attention n hope 2 d creator n bliv dat only his kingdom wil bring a complete halt 2 our predicament

by: Mercy from: Ebonyi
July 31, 2014 3:48 PM
As d bible says d@ our bdy is d temple of d holyspirit , i pray d@ dis deadly diseases shall nt locate us in Jesus name amen n d bible also says d@ we can live 120yrs n above, my prayer is d@ bcos our tym has nt reach no sickness n diseases shall penetrate or kill us in Jesus mighty name i pray amen

by: Anonymous
July 31, 2014 5:53 AM
I know for sure that the God who delivered the children of Isreal from the hands of the Egyptian will surely prevent all Nigerians from this deadly virus IN JESUS NAME(AMEN)

by: Ekufu Roseline from: onitsha, Anambra
July 31, 2014 4:12 AM
why did Patrick Sawyer come to Nigeria when he kn he had contracted d disease?

by: ubuane progress from: ughell,delta state
July 30, 2014 3:58 PM
i believe with God the prevention of the outbreak of ebola is possible. Nigerians should dedicate just one day to pray against this disease outbreak and i know God will answer his people

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs