Ebola: Doctors kick against September 22 schools resumption date

  • Lagos yet to take a position, says health commissioner

ebola alertDoctors under the umbrella of the Nigeria Medical Association have kicked against the Federal Government that directive that public and private primary and secondary schools should resume for the 2014/2015 academic session on September 22.

Stating its position on Tuesday, the NMA said the resumption date was rather hasty in the face of the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease in Nigeria.

It said resumption should not have been earlier than December or early next year.

The National Publicity Secretary of the NMA, Dr. Olawunmi Layaki, said the Federal Government should have given enough room for all Ebola suspects under surveillance to be cleared and certified free of the virus before schools resume.

Layaki said: “We are not happy with this decision on the resumption of schools.

“Schools should be shut till the last suspected case or patient is certified free of the virus.

“We can shift the resumption date till next year or in the next three months if that is the time it will take.”

Before the announcement of the new resumption date, government had earlier said schools would not resume earlier than October 15.

It said if need be, it would remain shut longer than that.

The new resumption date, many believe, was orchestrated by private schools owners.

This development, the NMA said, does not augur well for the country.

Layaki said the government had not followed the standard procedure for the containment of the EVD in announcing the date of resumption for schools.

He added: “Government should have enough time to follow the standard procedure for containing  the virus.

“Parents have no reason to be  in a hurry because if Ebola should enter any school, it will assume another dimension.

“Children cannot survive isolation like adults.

“Nigeria is peculiar because of her large population and we should be pragmatic and proactive.

“It will not augur well for the country if we have another outbreak due to carelessness.”

The Lagos State Government on Tuesday said it was yet to take a position on the recent directive by the Federal Government that schools across the country should resume on September 22.

Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, made the statement in Ikeja while addressing newsmen on the Ebola Virus Disease in the state.

Idris said the issue was before the  State Executive Council and that government would soon make a pronouncement on whether schools in the state would resume on the date or not.

Idris said that although the directive to resume on September 22 was from the Federal Government, the decision on whether schools in state would comply would be made by state government.

He said: “On the resumption date of schools, we in Lagos have not taken a position yet.

“The state government would soon come out whether schools would resume on the date fixed by the Federal Government or not.”

The commissioner said that although government was not yet definite on the resumption of schools, it was already putting in place measures to check the threats of the virus in schools.

Idris said government had met schools proprietors, school heads and teachers on what they should do to eliminate the Ebola threat in their respective schools.

He added that the government was also providing pipe-borne water to schools and constructing toilet facilities to enhance sanitation of schools.

The commissioner advised parents not to allow their sick children to go school as  keeping away sick children and taking them to the hospital would help contain the disease.

He said: “Like we have always said, somebody with the Ebola virus will be too weak to play around.

“We advise parents not to take their sick children to schools as keeping away sick children will help contain the virus.”

The commissioner urged residents to partner with the state government in completely eliminating the Ebola threat in the state.