FG Insists On Sept 22 School Resumption Date •Vaccines Will Soon Be Available —NAFDAC DG

The Federal Government, on Wednesday, said there is no scientific basis for school resumption to be postponed, insisting that it has not been properly briefed on why schools should not resume.

Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, who briefed council on the latest development on the× Ebola virus disease, noted that the date for resumption was agreed upon by the minister and commissioners of education in all the states of the federation.

“There is no scientific basis for school resumption to be postponed. There is no community transmission of the disease in Nigeria. That is what separates Nigeria from other countries. It is what I call irrational fear, we don’t need to be irrational about this,” he said.

He said in taking that decision, stakeholders used information provided by the Ministry of Health to the effect that there was actually no reason why schools could not resume earlier than the original date of October 13.

The minister insisted that there was the need for people to allow government to do the work it had been doing professionally.

“I think we should allow the authorities to do their jobs. It is not an ordinary matter to be discussed the way we want to discuss it.

“If you have any evidence why there is the need for review, such should be supplied to the Minister of Health. We will look at it, because we may never know, you may have a genuine reason,” he said.

The minister, on the case of a student of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, said  that the student was being treated as a suspected case.

He commended the school authorities, particularly the vice chancellor, for the procedure he adopted to report the case.

The minister said it was the student who came out on her own to reveal that she had contact with the dead doctor.

Ministry to put healthy measures in place

The Federal Ministry of Education says adequate measures are in place to guard against the spread of Ebola Virus Disease in schools ahead of the September 22 resumption date.

The Special Adviser on Media to the Minister of Education, Mr Nnamdi Olebara, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday.

According to him, the ministry is conscious of the danger of allowing one infected student to mix with other students.

“Commissioners for Information have been directed to ensure that there should be desk information officers in the states to communicate with the Federal Ministry of Education on Ebola.

“Because once one student contacts it, it will surely spread.

“There should be good toilets and water facilities in primary and secondary schools such that school children can wash their hands on running tap.

“Even if there is no borehole there, general purpose tanks could be provided.

“The ministry has also directed on the training of two members of staff of each school on ways of handling Ebola.

“There should be a network to train more people in the education sector in alliance with the health sector; so, the health ministries in the various states will partner with schools to ensure awareness,’’ he said.

He said that every state had also been directed to provide schools with thermometers to check temperature of students before allowing them into schools.

The special adviser said that some schools had already procured thermometers while others were expected to get the instrument before the September 22.

On schools located at interior areas, Olebara said that such schools were covered by the arrangements.

According to him, such schools will also have two training officers who will link up with the desk officer at the state level and will be monitored.

Olebara said the ministry would re-introduce the school health programme to ensure proper hygiene in schools even after the Ebola menace.

Reps to meet NMA, minister on schools’ resumption date

THE House of Representatives Committee on Education, on Wednesday, said it had invited the Minister of Education, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau and the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) to a meeting, over the resumption date for schools.

Honourable Aminu Suleiman, chairman of the House committee, disclosed this to newsmen on the sideline of oversight tour to some tertiary institutions in Lagos.

Suleiman said the committee would meet with the minister and NMA officials on September 15, to discuss the resumption date for public and private schools in the country.

He added that “it is true that government has reviewed the position earlier taken on the resumption; government may have some reasons that are not available to us.

“But since the Minister of Health has initially justified the reason for the review, the legislature decided to abide by that position.

“The NMA advised that the review of the date will not be in the best interest of the country healthwise.”

The lawmaker said as representatives of the people, the House decided to invite the executive through the minister and the NMA, “which we have done.The meeting is slated for September 15.”

Vaccines will soon be available —NAFDAC DG

IN support of the global effort to finding vaccines for the Ebola virus, the National Agency for Foods,  Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has expressed hope that vaccines will soon be made available to contain the disease.

This came as the Director-General of NAFDAC, Dr Paul Orhii, disclosed that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had stepped up global efforts for the discovery of the vaccines for the cure of the  disease.

Orhii, who spoke in a statement by the Director of Special Duties, Dr Abubakar Ibrahim, said WHO, last week, summoned an emergency meeting of health authorities of member nations in Geneva, Switzerland, to find lasting solution to contain the plague.

According to him, some vaccines had been placed under clinical evaluations, as they possessed high prospect of combating the disease.

Orhii, who commended efforts of the Federal Government in containing the spread of the disease, explained that the deadly virus should not be seen as a death sentence in the country.

Source: Tribune
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