Sunday, 24 August 2014

TRUE CONFESSION: HOW JUDASES BETRAYED THE NMA STRIKE BY SACKING US - NARD PRESIDENT

Kindly accept warm greetings from the Secretariat of NARD.

We are all aware of the events that took place during and after the last Emergency delegate meeting of the NMA on 6th August 2014 at Vines Hotel, Durumi,Abuja.

As such in the course of our internal squabbles, the Government, with the full support of some doctors (who view themselves as elders in the Profession), decided to suspend residency training programme in Nigeria!!!


How did we get to this point, right? Well, the so-called elders felt that Resident Doctors were the ones that didn't allow NMA to suspend the strike and therefore must be dealt with! The move to do this started on the 27th July after the botched NMA EDM of 26th July 2014. These " elders" had an overnight meeting at the private residence of the Minister of Health where they simply blamed NARD for the failure of NMA to suspend the strike. The conclusion therefrom was taken to the Government.

Eighteen days after this meeting of 'elders" and eight days after the last EDM of 6th August 2014, the FG unilaterally decided to suspend the Residency Training Programme in all Teaching Hospitals and Sack all Resident Doctors.

Subsequently, we discussed as the NOC of NARD on Thursday 14th August and decided that the best bet is to go through the structures of the NMA to resolve this issue as the root cause of it lies within the NMA. We took this approach because of the possibility of another entrapment should we go separately. We collectively (with the NMA) decided that the Suspension and Sack must be reversed.

A Press conference took place on Friday 15th August 2014 and a discussion with the Lawyers took place. A motion for an exparte injunction was sought to prevent FG, FMoH and CMDs/MDs from executing the Circular on suspension of RTP.

We left Abuja on Friday 15th August 2014 only to be called from the NMA secretariat on Saturday 16th August that the Senate President has invited a delegation of NMA/NARD for a mediation talk at his residence on Sunday 17th August. This channel was opened up through the President of MWAN, Dr (Mrs) Valerie Obot.
Dr White Man: delegation of NMA/NARD for a mediation talk at his residence on Sunday 17th August. This channel was opened up through the President of MWAN, Dr (Mrs) Valerie Obot.

We met the Senate President at about 8:30 pm in his Residence and had a discussion that centred on: Suspension of Residency Training, Relativity, Skipping, Hazard Allowance, Circular on the entry steps for HOs, Circular on Consultancy Status and items for Continuation of Negotiation including- Funding of Residency Training, Surgeon-General ( Chief Medical Adviser of the Federation), Reversal of CBN Circular amongst many.

Regarding the suspension of Residency Training, he viewed the action by FG as uncalled for and counter-productive. He On Relativity, we informed him that the EDM requested for implementation with or without payment of the arrears. On Skipping we told him of the genesis and background agreements and disagreements while we also informed of the justification of the review for Hazard Allowance using Ebola as a reference. For the outstanding issues with circulars, he castigated NMA for not doing the needful in terms of PR in the MDAs to get workers to do its bidding. On Surgeon-General, he advised that we may have to change terminology to beat the opposition. On Funding of Residency Training, he opined that it requires a lot of lobby to secure it as it is not salary-related and therefore not an issue for strike. He promised to discuss with the President on Monday 18th August and call us back for further discussion on 19th August 2014.
Dr White Man: The review discussion took place on Tuesday 19th August 2014 at the Residence of the Senate President. He reported back that the President and Commander-in-Chief was visibly angry when they met and that told him that he felt slighted by the NMA. His grouse was that he met the NMA twice and appealed for a suspension of the strike but both times he was disappointed. He further stated that he was informed severally that the NMA was desirous of suspending the strike but it was NARD that was holding NMA hostage.He further informed us that the President has been told that despite Obembe's determination to end the strike to the extent of resigning, NARD members instigated him to come back and continue provided he is gonna lead the strike. It was further said that opposition political parties, APC to be specific was using both the NARD and NMA Presidents to smear the ruling PDP party. Thus, the President said that though the sack is temporary, he will not withdraw the directive until Drs suspend their strike because there is no way one can guarantee Nigerian Doctors. He concluded on this issue by telling the Senate President that if the Doctors suspend the strike, the Circular will be withdrawn.

On Relativity, the President was said to have told Sen David Mark that there is no extra pool of funds to draw from and pay any arrears. Thus, only the two months already released to hospitals is to be paid while the 10-months' arrears shall be paid once the 2015 budget is passed. On Skipping, he said that the Minister of Health stated that he had been pleading with us to allow for the conclusion of the appeal by the FMoH. We then informed the Senate President that, the FG had signed agreements containing Skipping twice and the majority of Doctors have received letters of skipping while a few hospitals have paid. He later confirmed, and informed us that the new Head of Civil Service just took over on Monday and needs time for debriefing before he collaborates with the National Salaries and Wages Commission and sorts out the issue including the financial implication.
[21/08 6:39 AM] Dr White Man: and Wages Commission and sorts out the issue including the financial implication.

On Hazard Allowance, he agreed that an improvement is desirable but let us agree on a percentage. This was then pegged at 20% Basic Salary per month for Consultants and above while 30% of Basic Salary per month for Senior Registrars and below. However, this is to be completed as a component of the issues under continuation of Negotiation. (Collective Bargaining Agreement). For the circulars on HOs entry steps and Consultancy status, they will be corrected to reflect the viewpoints of NMA.

On Funding of Residency Training, he stated that we need to spare time for advocacy to people like him to get it properly done until it becomes a norm in the budget. On the other elements to be discussed under continuation of Negotiation, he stated that FMoH has told him that their team is ready and that as soon as the impasse is over, the discussions will start so as to finish before the 2015 budget is passed. He excused himself to see guests while we itemize the issues with his SSA into categories of those requiring payment, correction of Circulars a=or reassurance.

The Senate President concluded by pleading for the suspension of the strike based on the need NMA still has for political goodwill of Mr President as well as the Nigerian Masses. We departed from his residence around midnight.
Dr White Man: So, we discussed extensively and having waited for a good response from MDCAN that is obviously not forthcoming; an exparte injunction from NICN court Abuja, that has refused to materialize because the judge has consistently and conveniently refused to be available for hearing, we are of the opinion that holding onto the last vestiges of goodwill from the Senate President may just be the way out. However, this requires that we suspend the strike, and immediately the FG will reinstate all Resident Doctors.

For NARD, we ask ourselves certain pertinent questions: What is the underlying cause of this problem and what are the effects-seen and unseen? Certainly, the internal disaffection from the fall outs of the failed EDM(s) of NMA is an integral reason. Furthermore, this made it easy for the Judases within us to get emboldened to create the background for the latest assault on Medicine in Nigeria. The immediate backbone would have been MDCAN but alas it is comatose.

This is the journey over the past few days and weeks.

Kindly ruminate and understand why our concurrence for the suspension of the strike remains a plausible way out of this logjam!!!

Thank you

Dr Jibril Abdullahi
President

Saturday, 23 August 2014

FG To Privatise 6 Public Hospitals

The federal government says it has selected six public hospitals that it wants to cue into its public-private partnership (PPP) programme.

The minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu stated this yesterday when a delegation of the General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria and the Guild of Medical Directors visited him in Abuja.

He said, “For now, the government has mapped six hospitals where it wants to do PPP, so we want to encourage you to key into this.”

Chukwu said that there are areas where the government would continue to provide services in the hospitals but hopes that the private sector would key into it. ‘Now more than ever, the federal government’s policies are encouraging private sector investment.

The minister used the occasion to appreciate all medical personnel working in the private sector saying, ‘We want to appreciate you for insuring the health of Nigerians ever since the doctors in public hospitals have being on strike.”

He said that hopefully, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) will call-off their strike soon.

‘We mourn all Nigerians who have lost their lives to Ebola Virus Disease and indeed, one of your own, Dr Stella Adadevoh. Her bravery and courage will not go unnoticed. Very soon, I can assure you, the appropriate thing will be done to immortalise her memory,” the minister said.

Responding, the national president of Association of General and Private Practitioners, Dr Frank Odafen said, “The only problem we have had is that government policies have not really embraced private practitioners.”

Odafen said the government has not equipped them in the current fight against Ebola Virus Disease in terms of ‘armoury of war’.

Monday, 18 August 2014

New Ebola Case In Lagos As Runaway Nurse Repatriated From Enugu Is Discharged

A nurse has tested positive for Ebola infection in Lagos today, increasing the number of Ebola cases to 13 according to anonymous government sources.

The infected, whose name was given simply as “Nkechi”, had been under quarantine in Lagos. Doctors monitoring her said she initially tested negative and had been cleared to leave the center, but suddenly developed high temperatures that led to new tests which showed that she in fact had the virus.

The sudden discovery of her case caused a stir within the center as to the veracity of tested cases, and the safety of those cleared to leave the quarantine center by doctors at the center.

The nurse was admitted today for care.

In a related story, a nurse who last week skipped quarantine to escape to Enugu and was brought back to Lagos has tested negative for EVD and was subsequently discharged from the Ebola center.

Source: Saharareporters

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Communique Issued at the End of the Meeting of Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA) at the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) Secretariat at No.12, Aba Close, Garki Abuja on 12th and 13th August 2014

Following the JOHESU/AHPA meeting with his excellency, the secretary to the government of the federation, senator anyim pius anyim, GCON, Honourable minister of labour and Productivity, Honourable Minister of state for health, chairman salaries, income and wages commission, permanent secretary, federal ministry of health, representative of the head of the civil service of the federation and other top government functionaries on 12th august, 2014, the JOHESU and AHPA held its meeting at MHWUN secretariat on 12th ad 13th august 2014 to extensively review the meeting with the government on the lingering and other issues between government and JOHESU and resolved as follows"

STATE OF THE NATION
A) EBOLA VIRUS DISEASE OUTBREAK
JOHESU observed the outbreak of ebola virus disease through patrick sawyer an american liberian. JOHESU commends the governemtn for the efforts put up so far to curtail the spread of the disease. however, JOHESU Observed that a lot still needed to be done in protecting the citizens especially the health workers.


JOHESU commensurate with the family of one of us (NURSE) who died in active service as a result of the ebola infection. We urge the government to adequately compensate the family of the deceased and make adequate provision for the protection of other health workers. The incident has further shown that members of JOHESU are more prone to hazards on the job. The death of the nursr also proves that a patient does not necessarily go to the hospital to see medical practitioner but to get treated.

B) NMA STRIKE
While not grudging the NMA Demands, we want to point out that the strike embarked upon by NMA is illegal. JOHESU noted with dismay that the injuction restraining the medical and dental consultants association from embarking on strike was not obeyed as it claims that their members are also NMA members. JOHESU Calls on NMA to observe the rule of law and call off the strike in the interest of the patients and the national emergency situation in the country.

2) LOPSIDEDNESS AND UNLAWFUL CONSTITUTION OF BOARDS OF MANAGEMENT OF VARIOUS TERTIARY HEALTH INSTITUTIONS
JOHESU/ AHPA noted that the lopsidedness in the constitution of the boards of various managements of tertiary health institutioins still exists. however, the appointment of NASU representative on the board of the federal medical center, owo and NANNM representative at FMC Jalingo and university of abuja teaching hospital gwagwalad was commendable. The JOHESU Requested that subsequent vacancies in the various boards should be filled by her nominees whose names are already submitted by the unions in JOHESU. Our union branches are to put JOHESU on notice whenever vacancies exists on the boards of various institutions.

3) UPWARD REVIEW OF RETIREMENT AGE FROM 60 TO 65 YEARS
Arising from the meeting, it was confirmed that the onosode white paper on retirement age has been authenticated by the secretary to the government of the federation and has been transmitted to the head o f the civil service of the federation for the use of the 12 man committee on national council on establishment for the conclusion of the assignment. it was therefore agreed that relevent circular on the subject matter be issued on or before the end of august 2014

4) CIRCULAR ON CONSULTANCY STATUS FOR OTHER HEALTH PROFESSIONALS
It was reemphasised at the meeting that government has not reneged on the agreement with JOHESU on the circular issued on this matter on the 16th of May 2014. However, the recent circular of 18th july 2014 signed by the honourable minister of state for health is of no effect as it contradictss itself and the 22nd july 2013 NICN pronouncement on this issue.

the government has agreed that the section 1 (iv) of the circular reference number: FH/PM/138/VOL 111/85 of 18th july 2014 would be expunged because it runs contrary to the NICN Judgement of 22nd july 2013. furthermore, JOHESU Frowned at the practise of the minister of state for health issuing and signing of circuars which is a usurpation of the right of the office of the head of civil service or permanent secretary, federal ministry of health as appropriate.

5) ABOLITION OF THE POST OF DEPUTY CHAIRMAN MEDICAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE (DCMAC)
JOHESU observed that the circular reference number HMH/ABJ/155/Viii/348 issued by the federal ministry of health on 14th july 2014 validating the continued appointment of DCMAC which earlier had been abolished. JOHESU Vehemently condemned its reintroduction and insisted that the position earlier agreed on should be sustained because the post is unlawful and an unestablished positon in the scheme of service, a shortcut to give advantage to university lecturers who are part time staff over the permanent staff of the hospitals, wast of scarce resources and meant to prevent the JOHESU members from attaining the position of directors as provided for in the schemes of service. Governemnt appealed to allow it to stay pending the outcome of yayale Ahmed Presidential committee.

6) CIRCULARIZATION OF PROPER PLACEMENT OF INTERN MEDICAL LABORATORY SCIENTIST ON CONHESS 8 STEP 2
Government has issued the circular placing medical laboratory scientist interns on CONHESS 8 STEP 2 as appropriate. However, JOHESU observed that there was no mention of post NYSC placement in the circular. Government agreed to include it as obtainable for other professions such as physiotherapy, pharmacy and radiography.

7) ADJUSTMENT OF SALARIES/ ALLOWNACES IN LINE WITH THE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT OF 2009 AS IT WAS DONE FOR NMA IN THE SAME SECTOR IN JANUARY 2014
JOHESU was informed that there was a need to formaly inaugurate the committee to validate and do the needful on the financial implications of the adjustments and to capture it in the 2015 budget. The inauguration of the committee to be chaired by the ministry of finance will take place on 25th august 2014. The JOHESU considered this on the condition that the implementation of the circular issued for NMA in january 2014 on salary adjustment should also be deferred till 2015. Otherwise both groups should be treated equally without discrimination.

8) PAYMENT OF ARREARS OF SKIPPING OF CONHESS 10
The governemtn stressed the fact that there was paucity of fund, coupled with the national emergency situation that the country is going through. More importantly, there was no provison for it in 2014 budget. the JOHESU was not happy about this development and warned that the all or none law should be applied on this matter (i.e recent arrears on the adjustment of CONMESS which was approved in january 2014 should not be paid leaving that of CONHESS 10 skipping which has been lingering since 2011)

9) PROMOTION OF OFFICERS FROM CONHESS 14 TO 15 AS DIRECTORS
The meeting was alarmed when it saw the list of JOHESU Members who were deprived of their promotion ranging from 10 to 15 years in their various institutions. It was therefore decided that such officers be promoted without further delay while the defaulting institutions should be sanctioned by the government. The branches of our unions should endeavour to submit the list of stagnated members to JOHESU for onward delivery to the federal ministry of health for appropriate action.

10) ISSUES BEFORE YAYALE AHMED PRESIDENTIAL COMMITTEE
1) Appointment of CMDs/MDs of teaching hospitals in accordance with the extant laws and the need to give consideration to permanent staff of the hospital rather than the university based personnel

2) Advertorial for appointment of CMDs/ MDs should no longer be skewed in favour of one professional group but made open to all competent and qualified health professionals

The decision of govrnment to allow the current situation of appointmet to continue is unacceptable by JOHESU in the senst that the law which provided for medically qualified person to be appointed CMD does not approve the position solely for medical practioners. Pending the conclusion of yayale ahmed presidential committee, JOHESU members who are qualified should be equally considered.

11) APPROVAL OF RESIDENCY PROGRAM FOR OTHER HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS
JOHESU noticed that in 2010 Abdullahi Bello Presidentail panel was established to look into the disharmony in the health sector. One of its recommendations was that residency program should be established for other healthcare professionals as applicable to the medical and dental practitioner counterparts. up till now, nothing has been done. JOHESU therefore demands that residency training program should be estalished for her clinical professional members without further delay.

12) ULTIMATUM:
JOHESU Expects the governemnt to issue all the necessary circulars (upward review of retirement age from 60 to 65 years, modification of circular on consultancy for other health professionals dated 18th july 2014, circularization of proper placemnt of intern medical laboratory scientists on CONHESS 8 STEP 2) on or before 29th august 2014 to avert any industrial action

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Government suspends Residency program in Nigeria.

Ebola: Nigeria Approves use of Experimental “Zmapp” Drug

Abuja (NAN) – The National Health Research Ethics Committee, Nigeria, has approved the use of an experimental Ebola drug, Zmapp, for treatment of patients infected with the virus.

The committee, which composed research scientists, is a national body under the Federal Ministry of Health.

The endorsement is contained in a statement issued to newsmen by Prof. Clement Adebamowo, Chairman of the committee on Wednesday in Abuja.

The decision by the committee is coming on the heels of Tuesday’s approval by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on the use of Zmapp for treatment of Ebola patients.

“It is ethical to use these treatments in the current situation without first submitting an application to National, State or Institutional Health Research Ethics Committee for prior review and approval.

“In addition, the Committee waives the current requirement that international shipment of any biological samples out of Nigeria should be preceded by the establishment of a Materials Transfer Agreement.

“This waiver is to promote rapid international response to this global emergency,’’ the statement said.

In the statement, the Nigerian National Code for Health Research Ethics emphasised that all innovative and non-validated treatments should be carefully and adequately documented.

According to the statement, the documentation can form the basis for clinical trials of the efficacy and side effects of the treatment according to established scientific principles.

In the statement, the ethics committee enjoined all agencies, development partners and research scientists to follow the guideline for the rapid resolution of the current emergency.

“The guideline will contribute to preparedness in case of future occurrences and contribution to scientific knowledge.

“It must be noted that all Phase O and Phase I Clinical Trials that may subsequently be designed for treatment of this infection can be approved only by the National Health Research Ethics Committee,’’ it said.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Ebola: Why Patrick Sawyer travelled to Nigeria – Wife

The widow of Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian who brought Ebola into Nigeria, has defended his decision to travel to the country explaining that he might have done so in desperate search for a country with good healthcare system.

According to TMZ Liberia, Decontee Sawyer, who is a radio host in New York, posted a message on her Facebook timeline explaining that Mr. Sawyer had no trust for the decaying healthcare system in Liberia and might have headed to Nigeria with the hope of receiving proper treatment for his ailment.
“I’ve read other reports in other papers (not the New York Times) about Patrick’s “recklessness.” I get where they’re coming from, and they certainly have the right to feel the way they do. However, as Patrick’s widow, I would like to shed some light on this from another perspective. One that only I, his wife, would know,” she wrote.

“I knew Patrick better than anybody else (including himself). He had told me many times in the past how much he didn’t trust the Liberian healthcare system. He would tell me about how a person would get checked in for one thing, and get misdiagnosed and get the wrong treatment as a result. On top of that, Patrick was a clean freak, and told me how filthy a lot of the hospitals were.

“He didn’t tell me this, but I know in my heart of hearts that Patrick was determined to get to Nigeria by all means because he felt that Nigeria would be a place of refuge. He has expressed to me many times in the past that he felt passionately about helping to be a part of strengthening Liberia’s healthcare system, but he knew it wasn’t there yet, and he wouldn’t want to take a chance with his life because a lot of people depended on him… Patrick had a passion for life, and he wouldn’t have wanted his to end. So, I bet anything that he was thinking, if I could only get to Nigeria, a way more developed country than Liberia, I would be able to get some help. How ironic.”
Many Nigerians condemned Mr. Sawyer for travelling to the country after it was revealed that he knew he was carrying the virus before embarking on the trip.

Some Nigerians on social media have described him as a “biological terrorist” arguing that he came into the country deliberately to spread the disease. On Monday in Abuja, President Goodluck Jonathan described Mr Sawyer’s decision to travel to Nigeria as pure “madness” and “craziness.”

“Sawyer that brought this Ebola to Nigeria; his sister died of Ebola. And he started acting somehow, his country asked him not to leave the country, let them observe him, but the crazy man decided to leave and found his way here,” the president said.

Ms. Sawyer wrote that the fact that her husband avoided contact with others at the James Sprigg Payne’s Airport in Monrovia revealed by airport CCTV footage proved he didn’t set out to infect others with the disease and perhaps his actions were that of a dying man in desperate search for help.

“It has been reported that Patrick avoided physical contact with everyone he came across during his trip from Liberia to Nigeria. When he got to Nigeria, he turned himself in letting them know that he had just flown in from Liberia. Patrick went to Nigeria for help so that he can get properly diagnosed, and not misdiagnosed in Liberia. And if it came back that he did have Ebola, he trusted the Nigerian healthcare system a lot more than he trusted the Liberian’s. His action, as off as it was, was a desperate plea for help. Patrick didn’t want to die, and he thought his life would be saved in Nigeria.”


She then took a swipe at the Liberian President, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who said Mr. Sawyer was indisciplined and disrespectful for failing to heed medical advice not to travel. She said if President Johnson-Sirleaf had fixed the healthcare system in Liberia, her husband would have no need of leaving in search of treatment somewhere else.

“I write today, not simply because of Patrick, but because of the broken healthcare system in the Liberia, and the government’s inability under President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (and other past Presidents) to fix it. Good doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers aren’t given the support they need to save lives.

“President Sirleaf went on CNN News throwing stones at Patrick, a man who can no longer defend himself, a man who worked tirelessly for Liberia. She should be ashamed of herself. I use to admire this woman, and was excited and proud of her accomplishment as the first woman President in the entire continent of Africa. She will always own that. We will always own that. It can’t be taken away from her. It’s something to be proud of. But this woman has failed her country,” she wrote.
Since Mr. Sawyer’s death in a Lagos hospital, two other persons who had contact with him have died of the virus. At least eight others have also tested positive to the infection and have been quarantined at a Lagos hospital.


President Goodluck Jonathan has since declared a national emergency on the disease while the federal health ministry in conjunction with health ministries in the 36 states are working to prevent the virus, which has killed over 1,000 people in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, from spreading.

Source: Premium Times

Nigerian nurse skips Ebola quarantine to Enugu

A nurse who had close contact with
a Liberian Ebola patient skipped quarantine in Lagos and went to her home in the eastern city of Enugu, where she made contact with 20 other people, the
government said Wednesday.

Information Minister Labaran Maku said the nurse, herself a suspected case, and her 20 contacts were all under surveillance in Enugu, bringing the total number being watched in Nigeria to 189.

Maker of Experimental 'ZMapp' Ebola Drug Says Supply Is Exhausted

The maker of the experimental Ebola drug that was given to two infected Americans said Monday that its supply has been exhausted after the company provided doses to a West African nation.
Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc. said in a brief online statement it had complied with every request for the drug that had the necessary legal and regulatory authorization. The company said it provided the drug, called ZMapp, at no cost in all cases.

San Diego-based Mapp didn't name any countries that requested the drug and didn't release additional details.

In a statement Monday, the office of Liberia's president said the U.S. planned to deliver sample doses of an "experimental serum" to Liberia later this week to treat Liberian doctors infected with Ebola.

Liberia said the shipment was in response to a request Friday sent to President Obama by Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. The statement didn't name the drug.

ZMapp's safety hasn't previously been established in humans, but the drug has shown promise in monkey studies.


Last week, Mapp said it provided ZMapp to two Americans infected with Ebola in West Africa who have been taken to Atlanta for treatment.

The company has said it is working with U.S. government agencies to increase production of ZMapp, which was in limited supply because the company was focused on animal testing and hadn't planned to start human testing until next year.

Health authorities in Liberia expressed concern last week that the drug had been provided to two Americans but not to infected Liberians. Liberian officials last week said they would explore getting the experimental drug for other patients.



The Defense Threat Reduction Agency, or DTRA, an arm of the Department of Defense that develops countermeasures to weapons of mass destruction, plans to award a contract to Mapp to help it begin clinical trials testing ZMapp in humans, according to a notice posted online July 22.

Liberia to give two doctors trial drug -Punch Newspaper.

Liberia said on Tuesday it would treat two infected doctors with the scarce experimental Ebola drug ZMapp, the first Africans to receive the treatment, while authorities in Spain said a 75-year-old priest had died of the disease, Reuters reports.

The death toll from the worst ever outbreak of the highly contagious disease has climbed to 1,013 since it was discovered in remote southeastern Guinea in March, according to the World Health Organisation.

It said ZMapp doses were very scarce, raising ethical questions of who should have priority.

Spanish authorities said a 75-year-old Spanish priest who contracted Ebola in Liberia had died. The government had announced on Sunday that Miguel Pajares, the first European infected by the strain, would also be treated with ZMapp manufactured by California-based Mapp Biopharmaceutical.

In addition to Pajares, ZMapp has already been administered to two US aid workers. The US citizens are now in a hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, after being medically evacuated and have shown some signs of improvement.

The virus – one of the deadliest diseases known to man – has spread to four African countries, infecting a total 1,848 people, according to the WHO, which has branded the outbreak an international health emergency.

The epidemic in one of the world’s poorest regions, where crumbling healthcare systems are unable to cope, has opened an ethical debate on the use of trial drugs on humans. A WHO medical ethics committee was due to announce its findings on Tuesday, including on the sensitive issue of who should receive priority for the limited supplies of the drugs.

How Liberian Govt Cleared Patrick Sawyer To Travel To Nigeria With Ebola-Premium Times

Liberain -American, Patrick Sawyer brought Ebola virus to Nigeria
The Liberian Government was aware that Patrick Sawyer, its citizen who brought the Ebola virus into Nigeria, had possibly contracted the virus from his late sister, yet cleared him to travel to Nigeria for a conference organised by the Economic Community of West African States [ECOWAS], PREMIUM TIMES can authoritatively report today.

Documents obtained by this newspaper showed that Mr. Sawyer’s employers, ArcelorMittal, an iron mining company, suspended him from work and isolated him after it became aware that he had contact with his sister who died of the virus on July 8.
The company also issued an internal memo to staff of the company informing them that Mr. Sawyer had been referred to the Liberian Health ministry for testing and close observation.

“A family member of an ArcelorMittal Liberia employee died on Tuesday, July 8th, in Monrovia due to a confirmed case of the Ebola virus,” the July 11 edition of Satellite, an internal newsletter of ArcelorMittal Liberia, said. “The employee had minimal contact with the victim, at the state where the virus was infectious.

“Doctors say the risk of potential transfer to any member of the ArcelorMittal staff or contractors is very low. The employee has submitted to the Ministry of Health for a medical examination for possible Ebola infection, and has also requested the Ministry of Health to make the result available to ArcelorMittal Liberia and its close affiliates.

“There is no evidence to suggest that the employee has been infected. Under the Ministry of Health guidelines, the employee is being monitored on a daily basis and will continue to do so for a period of 21 days. During this time the employee will be absent from work.”

The July 25 edition of the Satellite, which announced Mr. Sawyer’s death, reads:

“Patrick was last at the Buchanan site (of AncelorMittal) on 9th July when he informed us about the death of his sister. Having informed us of this news, Patrick was submitted to the Ministry of Health for a medical observation and isolation and requested not to return to work until he had passed through the incubation period. He has not been at the Buchanan site or in any ArcelorMittal office since that time.”

But despite being under isolation and observation for the deadly disease, the Liberian Government, through its Deputy Finance Minister For Fiscal Affairs, Sebastian Muah, cleared Mr. Sawyer to travel to Nigeria for an ECOWAS convention in Calabar.

The deputy minister personally admitted approving the trip in an online discussion forum, where some Liberian citizens raised questions about his action and competence.

Mr. Muah could not be reached for comments on Monday. His mobile telephone was switched off the numerous times PREMIUM TIMES called.

But the Liberian Minister of Information, Lewis Brown, admitted to this newspaper that his government knew Mr. Sawyer was possibly infected by the virus before he travelled to Nigeria.

“I can confirm to you that he was advised by the Chief Medical Officer at the Ministry of Health not to leave the country because he was under observation,” Mr. Brown said by telephone from Monrovia, the Liberian capital. “It was regrettable that he left the country while being observed.

“We felt he had a duty to his colleagues to tell them that he was under observation for the disease. We also felt he had a duty to our country and yours (Nigeria) not to leave Liberia so as not to endanger the lives of others.”

Asked why a Liberian government official approved Mr. Sawyer’s trip to Nigeria even when the administration was watching him for Ebola, Mr. Brown said he had no information that the Deputy Minister, Mr. Muah, okayed the journey.

He however explained that such an administrative slip was possible at the time Mr. Sawyer left Liberia for Nigeria because at that time, inter-agency cooperation among government departments was low.

“It’s possible the health ministry was monitoring him (Mr. Sawyer) but the finance ministry did not know,” Mr. Brown said. “It was a slip and we have learned from it regrettably.”

He said the Patrick Sawyer incidence had now compelled Liberia to rework its procedures.

“Now the practice is to share the names of everyone under observation with all other agencies, including the airport, so they cannot leave the country,” the minister said.

“Before the Patrick Sawyer incidence, we did not have that kind of cooperation. We were not locking people under observation down. We were only bringing them to the isolation centre after they showed signs of the disease.”

Liberian newspaper, The New Dawn, which saw the CCTV footage recorded at the James Spriggs Payne’s Airport, Monrovia, moments before Mr. Sawyer boarded an Asky Airline plane to Lagos on July 20, reported that he looked “terribly ill” and wore a “sad countenance“ like someone in severe pain.

Apparently overtaken by “excruciating pain,” he, at a point, laid flat on his stomach on the floor in the corridor of the airport.

The paper also reported the footage as capturing Mr. Sawyer sitting alone and avoiding bodily contacts with other passengers who came close to him at the boarding gate of the airport as he awaited his flight to Lagos.

Mr. Sawyer became severely ill on the plane and was taken to First Consultant Hospital, Obalende, from the Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos.

Reports of events before he travelled to Nigeria and soon after his death have now shown that top Liberian government officials were aware of his trip to Nigeria and appeared to have done nothing to stop him.
The reports have also shown that Mr. Sawyer did not escape from where he was quarantined as reported by some newspapers.

In fact, the actions of some Liberian officials suggested that they were more concerned with getting Mr. Sawyer to the convention venue in Calabar and cared very little about the health risk he posed.

After he died, First Consultant Hospital issued a statement saying it resisted immense pressure from Liberian officials to discharge Mr. Sawyer from the hospital to enable him to attend the convention in Calabar, with diplomats saying he had a key role to play at the convention.

Nigeria was free of Ebola until July 20 when Mr. Sawyer arrived.

He became terribly ill on his flight and was rushed to the First Consultant Hospital Obalende, Lagos, where he died on July 24.

Nigeria’s Health Minister, Onyebuchi Chukwu, said on Monday that although the Liberian government has apologized for the incidence, it was pertinent to note that Nigeria was free of Ebola Virus until its importation by the Liberian-American.

Mr. Sawyer’s action, he said, has placed unnecessary stress on Nigeria’s health system.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Global Research Nurses’ network announces writing competition

The Global Research Nurses’ network has announced a writing competition for nurses working in clinical research.

Participants must write a 1,000 - 1,500 word article discussing the role of the research nurse: "Using examples from research projects that you have worked on discuss what skills nurses contribute to a clinical research team," the announcement stated.

Entries must be received by October 31, 2014.

Please see the Global Research Nurses' network website for details.

The winner will be invited to attend the Royal College of Nursing International Nursing Research Conference on April 20-22, 2015 in Nottingham, UK.

Second place winner will receive a free one-year subscription to the following journals:
The Journal of Advance Nursing and the Journal of Clinical Nursing.

The following stipulations apply to contestants.

*Registered Nurse from a low/ middle income country
*Working in a low/ middle income country (as defined by the World Bank)
*Working as a research nurse or a nurse with clinical research responsibilities
*Member of Global Research Nurses’ network.

For more information on how to register,visit https://globalresearchnurses.tghn.org/extra/competition-2015/

Monday, 11 August 2014

Ebola: Another Lagos nurse (Newly Wedded) tested positive

Another Lagos nurse has tested positive to Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) 22 days after the first case of the virus was recorded.


The newly wedded nurse was among the people that had direct contact to the importer of the virus into Nigeria, the late Liberian man, Patrick Sawyer.


According to the Minister of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu, her husband is among the 177 people placed under surveillance.

He revealed that nine have so far developed EVD, thus bringing the total number of cases in Nigeria to ten — two of these two have died — that is the Liberian and the nurse while eight are alive and currently on treatment.

Ebola: Family of dead Nigerian nurse on the run

e husband and children of the Nigerian nurse who died after getting infected with the Ebola virus are on the run, the health officials in the country have said.

Nigeria is the fourth West African country to be hit by the Ebola outbreak since it first emerged in March in Guinea. The virus entered the country when Patrick Sawyer, who was suffering from the disease arrived by plane late last month in Lagos.

Sawyer, who worked for the Liberian government in Monrovia and had a wife and three young daughters in Minnesota, was on a business flight to Nigeria when he fell ill.

The nurse, the only Nigerian fatality from the disease which has killed over 900 people in four West African countries, was exposed to the virus at a health facility Sawyer was taken before his death.

The nurse’s family were not the first to flee from quarantine. In Sierra Leone, health ministry data and officials, dozens of people confirmed by laboratory tests to have Ebola are now unaccounted for.

Industry watchers say the government more increase public awareness and sensitisation to educate the public.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is meeting with Nigerian Ebola Research Team on control and remedy of the disease.

A six-man research committee was inaugurated by the Federal Government on August 4, 2014 with a mandate to carry out research on the deadly contagious virus.

Ebola outbreak: High death toll among health worker 1st responders

Liberia's President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf apologized on Saturday for the high death toll among the country's health-care workers who have fought an Ebola outbreak, which has killed nearly 1,000 people in three countries.

Johnson Sirleaf pledged up to $18 million for the Ebola fight, part of which will be given to health workers to help with insurance and death benefits, fund more ambulances and increase the number of treatment centres.

"If we haven't done enough so far, I have come to apologize to you," she told hundreds of health workers gathered at Monrovia's City Hall for a meeting with her government.

Health workers are Ebola first responders
The West African Ebola outbreak, centred on Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, is the worst in history. The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday it is an international health emergency that will likely continue spreading for months.

The disease has put a severe strain on the health systems of affected states and governments have responded with a range of measures, including the declaration of national emergencies in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria, which confirmed seven cases of Ebola in Lagos.


Ebola has reaped a high toll on health workers who have acted as first responders. Liberia alone has lost at least three doctors to the virus and 32 health workers.

Sierra Leone's Health Ministry said a senior physician had contracted the disease at the Connaught referral hospital in the capital, Freetown.

Dr. Modupeh Cole contracted the disease "after treating a patient ... who was later proved to have the virus and died," said ministry spokesman Sidi Yahya Tunis.

Cole was taken to an Ebola treatment centre in eastern Kailahun district, run by medical charity Doctors Without Borders, Tunis said.

He is the latest Sierra Leonean medical practitioner to contract the virus. The country's leading Ebola doctor, Shek Umar Khan, died of the disease last month and several nurses have died.

Guinea borders to stay open

Guinea said earlier on Saturday at a news conference attended by four government ministers that it had closed its borders with Sierra Leone and Liberia to halt the spread of Ebola.

Authorities said the decision was taken primarily to prevent infected people crossing into Guinea, where at least 367 people have died of Ebola since March and 18 others are being treated in isolation.



However, state television later said the borders remained open, in an about-face that appeared to highlight the difficulties governments face in coordinating policy in the face of the fast-moving outbreak.

"Guinea has not closed its borders with Sierra Leone or with Liberia. It's rather that we have taken health measures at the border posts," the television channel said.

A government source said the minister who made the original announcement had not been in possession of accurate information.

Ebola is one of the deadliest diseases known to humanity. It has no proven cure and there is no vaccine to prevent infection. The most effective treatment involves alleviating symptoms that include fever, vomiting and diarrhea.

The rigorous use of quarantine is needed to prevent its spread, as well as high standards of hygiene for anyone who might come into contact with the disease.

These measures have proved hard to enforce given that Ebola has spread in rural parts of some of the world's poorest countries. The task is made harder because of mistrust of health workers in areas with inadequate public health services.

Suspected cases around the world

The WHO said on Friday 961 people have died during the outbreak and 1,779 have been infected. The infections and deaths have led to tests on suspected Ebola cases around the world.

Authorities in Ghana said they were testing samples from a man from Burkina Faso who died while being transported to hospital in the Upper East region.


"He had fever and was bleeding from the nose so we are testing him for Ebola because we don't want to take chances," Yaw Manu, medical head at Bawku Presbyterian Hospital, said by telephone. Ghana has previously conducted about 20 Ebola tests, though none has proved positive.

Test results for a patient being treated in a Toronto-area hospital for a suspected case of Ebola are due within 24 hours, Ontario's health ministry said on Saturday. The patient recently came to Canada from Nigeria.

Authorities in Benin also said they were testing a patient for Ebola, the second suspected case in the country, while Saudi Arabia's Health Ministry said initial tests on a dead Saudi citizen suspected of having Ebola were negative.

International alarm over the spread of the disease increased last month when a U.S. citizen died in Nigeria after travelling there by plane from Liberia. Since then, other countries with no cases of the disease have taken measures as a precaution.

Zambia said it would restrict the entry of travellers from countries affected by the virus and would ban Zambians from travelling to those countries, in one of the strictest actions by any nation outside of West Africa.

Zambia's Health Ministry also advised against holding any "international events" such as conferences and other gatherings, citing concerns about controlling potential outbreaks.

Gambia's Ministry of Transport said any planes flying to the capital, Banjul, should not pick up passengers at airports in Conakry, Freetown or Monrovia.

Source: http://www.cbc.ca/m/touch/health/story/1.2732076

Ebola virus: Liberia health system 'overtaxed'-BBC

Liberia's information minister has admitted that the country's health care system has been overwhelmed by the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.

Lewis Brown told the BBC the system had been "overtaxed" by the outbreak, but that authorities were doing their best in the face of an unprecedented crisis.

The medical charity MSF said officials underestimated the outbreak and that the health system was "falling apart".

Nearly 1,000 people have died and 1,800 have become infected in West Africa.

The Ebola outbreak - the worst-ever - is centred on Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, but has spread to other countries in recent months.

Mr Lewis told the BBC that the outbreak was affecting Liberia's most populated areas, and that people there were "in denial".

"There are religious practices and beliefs, long-held traditional values that are being challenged by the procedures... to cure or at least prevent the spread of disease," he said.

He said Liberia's health care system was "not the best in the wold", but rejected accusations that it had not responded quickly enough. The crisis, Mr Lewis added, would have "overstretched and overtaxed" any health system.

"The bottom line is we are at the frontline of a deadly outbreak," Mr Lewis said.

Earlier, the co-ordinator for Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) in Liberia, Lindis Hurum, told the BBC: "Our capacity is stretched beyond anything that we ever done before in regards to Ebola response."

She said five of the biggest hospitals in the capital Monrovia had closed for more than a week.

"Some of them have now started to re-open but there are other hospitals in other counties that are just abandoned by the staff."

'Inaccurate' information

On Saturday demonstrators in Liberia blocked a highway, saying authorities had not been collecting the bodies of some victims.

The army was then deployed to restrict movement, particularly from the worst-affected provinces to the capital.

Meanwhile Guinea has denied earlier reports that the government had sealed borders with Liberia and Sierra Leone.

State TV said the initial announcement - made by the health minister on Saturday - had been mistaken

"Guinea has not closed its borders with Sierra Leone or with Liberia. It's rather that we have taken health measures at the border posts," it said.

The Spanish government says a Roman Catholic priest, infected with Ebola in Liberia, will be treated with an experimental drug, Zmapp, in a hospital in Madrid. The drug has been used in the US on two aid workers who have shown signs of improvement.

In Canada, test results on a patient being treated near Toronto after returning from Nigeria with flu-like symptoms have shown he does not have the virus, officials said on Sunday.

The Ebola virus is transmitted between humans through bodily fluid read more from the source http://m.bbc.com/news/world-africa-28731633

Ebola: Nurses berate FG, say government not serious in fighting the disease.

The Lagos State chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association and the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives have accused the Federal Government of not being proactive enough in the fight against the Ebola Virus Disease.

The doctors and nurses said at separate news conferences in Lagos on Sunday, that the government had yet to put in place adequate measures to protect health workers willing to manage those infected by the deadly virus.

The state NMA, through its chairman, Dr. Tope Ojo, therefore challenged the federal and Lagos state governments to provide protective kits and address the issue of hazard allowance for doctors, nurses and other health workers ready to be involved in treating infected persons.

It also faulted the life insurance cover announced by both the federal and state governments, saying its provisions had yet to be spelt out.

The NMA said, ‘‘Any health worker that is managing an Ebola patient is risking his/her life and that of his family. Ebola has killed over 61 doctors in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. It is a serious issue.

“You don’t just dangle life insurance without documents. We cannot endanger our lives unless we know what is at stake.We should be assured that should anything happen to us, our families are catered for.

“The terms of the insurance must be in public domain in a transparent manner.

“It is sad that it had to take an Ebola outbreak, for government to realise that health workers need life insurance cover.”

Also at the news conference, the association’s Secretary, Dr. Babajide Saheed, said it was imperative for both governments to put in place adequate infection control measures to effectively check the spread of the EVD.

Saheed said,” Please you journalists should visit the IDH(Infectious Diseases Hospital in Yaba and find out what the Federal Government has put in place for effective infection control.

“Please compare it to what health workers in Guinea and Liberia had while treating Ebola patients.

“Till now, the Federal and state governments have not come out with a concrete position on the life insurance cover they have offered to us and the public.

“By protecting health workers that are managing suspected or confirmed cases of Ebola, you are protecting the public from infections, because doctors are part of the society.”

The Lagos NMA also used the opportunity to declare that the nationwide strike by doctors had not been called off.

Also, nurses, at their own news conference, said it was regrettable that the Federal Government had not learnt to act fast during emergency situations like the Ebola virus outbreak.

They also berated the Federal Ministry of Health for negotiating with the NMA to end its strike, saying that the association (NMA) was not a trade union but a professional body which had no right to boycott work.

Their President, Mr. Abdrufai Adeniji, said, “It is appalling that Nigeria is still at the stage of making arrangements when the virus has already been granted certificate of occupancy and has taken full residence in the country. “Government should learn to copy true international best practice which its agents are quick to shout when they are on their mission of deceit.

“Serious governments have already put in place precautionary measures to prevent the pandemic on their soil and some even have treatments even though such are still in the clinical trial stage.

“Government needs to understand that its business should be doing more than it says and taking actions that surpass mere arrangements.”

He commiserated with the family of the nurse who lost her life after contracting the disease while treating Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian man who brought the disease into the country.

Adeniji urged nurses to exercise extreme caution while treating Ebola patients as they stood a higher risk of contracting the disease than doctors.

He said, “We hereby call on nurses to remain committed to their calling and be cautious of the precautionary measures to forestall further incidences. The government at all levels should do their part to provide adequate equipment infrastructure, protective wears, policies to take care of the victims of the virus and other deadly issues.

Source: http://www.punchng.com/politics/fg-not-serious-about-fighting-ebola-doctors-nurses/

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Ebola: Mark appeals to NMA to end strike

enate President, David Mark, on Thursday, appealed to the striking doctors under the aegis of the Nigeria Medical Association to rise up to the current national emergency by calling off their ongoing industrial action.

Mark who stated this in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Paul Mumeh, in Abuja, also directed the Senate Committee on Health to collaborate with the relevant agencies to prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola disease.

He said, “The striking medical doctors should see the outbreak of the Ebola virus disease in the country as a national emergency that necessitate the immediate suspension of their strike and return to duty.”

He asked the doctors to be patriotic enough to put aside whatever grievances or misgivings they had and return to their duty posts.

He noted that failure to hearken to this national call, was akin to sentencing the citizens of Nigeria to untimely deaths.

He also pointed out that the continued strike of the doctors will be a disservice to humanity and a total betrayal of their noble and revered profession .

He reminded them of the Hippocratic oath they swore to on graduation that their primary duty was to save lives, far above other considerations.

He said part of the modern Hippocratic oath written in 1964 by Academic Dean of the school of medicine at the Tufts University, was that doctors would prevent diseases whenever they can, for prevention is preferable to cure.

Mark said, “For the avoidance of doubts, nobody is opposed to the Doctors’ demands. They are genuine and I think they are reasonable.

“But What is paramount now is that there is an emergency that demands extra-ordinary measures to tackle.”

He expressed optimism that the Federal Government would do the needful to address their grievances.

Mark appreciated the huge challenges faced by the doctors and other healthcare providers and urged them to rigidly apply universal precautions while attending to their patients.

He also enjoined all citizens to constantly practise good personal hygiene in their homes, offices, shops, schools and other work places to halt the possible spread of the disease.

Mark, according to the statement, has equally directed the Senate Committee on Health to collaborate with the Federal Ministry of Health and other health institutions in the fight against the Ebola virus disease.

He said the National Assembly was taking the Ebola virus disease case as a national emergency and has in the meantime embarked on sensitisation programme on the matter.

Source: Punch

Nurses: We will Not Allow Our Members to Sign Death Warrant

In response to the death of the nurse who contacted the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Lagos, the immediate past National Deputy President of the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Mr. Olufemi Rasheed Tonade, has said nurses are not ready to sign a death warrant.

He, however, described the death of the nurse as quite unfortunate, pathetic and painful, saying that the death brings to the fore what the association “is saying about our governments and the health system. It is quiet unfortunate that the Nigerian government has not addressed basic needs in the health system.”

“As leaders in the sector, we will not allow government deceive anybody that they have equipment. We have concluded that we are not going to sign a death warrant. We believe that if government cannot resolve basic health needs, how can it tackle the Ebola virus, which is a very serious health hazard that has shut down the whole Liberia and about to shut down other West African countries.

“Our problem is that we don’t get our priorities right. Ebola is deadly and cannot be politicised, it should be addressed with all seriousness by any serious government.

“We have told all our members that Ebola is deadly and that no hospital in Nigeria is prepared to handle the virus. They should not politicise it to say they have protective equipment. It is no longer preventive in Nigeria rather it is now curative approach. The American government just tested a drug. All they need do is to treat Ebola decisively and tackle it headlong,” Tonade said.

He said the association is trying to identify the matron that died, and whether she was in the private or public health sector, adding that no amount of money can be given to anyone to say he or she should come and treat Ebola patients.

“Nothing is working in Nigeria, the insurance industry is not effective in Nigeria, and the government insurance scheme cannot be likened to you having a third party insurance on your car. You know with third party insurance, you do not expect anything when your car gets damaged. We do not believe in government’s life insurance,” he added.

He agreed however that the country has the manpower—the doctors and nurses, but lacked the facilities, the reason “why we have resisted them bringing Ebola patients to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) because we do not have the facilities there.

“What will government give that could be compared to the life of a doctor, nurse, pharmacist and other health professionals. Let us tackle the disease headlong.

“Let government bring in the drugs that the Americans are currently using for their people. Yes, we have quarantined some health officials, but we need serious commitment on the part of government.

Source: Thisday

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Nurse who treated Liberian Sawyer dies, seven isolated

The Federal Government said on Wednesday, that a nurse who was one of the medical personnel that attended to the late Liberian-American, Patrick Sawyer, who died of Ebola virus in Lagos State on July 25, has died of the disease.

Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, who stated this at a news conference in Abuja, also confirmed that five other medical practitioners who participated in the treatment are already infected with the virus.

He said, “Nigeria has now recorded seven confirmed cases of Ebola Virus Disease.

“The first one was the index case, which is the imported case from Liberia of which the victim is now late.

“Yesterday, 5th August, 2014, the first known Nigerian to die of the EVD was recorded and this was one of the nurses that attended to the Liberian.

“The other five cases are currently being treated at the Isolation Ward in Lagos.”

The Minister noted that all the Nigerians diagnosed were primary contacts of the index case.

He announced the appointment of Prof. O. Onajole, of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, who will be based in Lagos, as the Director, Communication and Community Mobilisation for the EVD.

He also pledged to visit Lagos within the week, in company with his colleague in the ministry of information, to assess the situation on ground.

Source: Punch

Sawyer: Lagos matron shows Ebola symptoms

There was gloom at the secretariat of the Nigerian Medical Association,Lagos State chapter when the association’s Chairman, Dr. Tope Ojo, disclosed that the matron of the hospital where the Liberian-born American, Patrick Sawyer, was admitted for treatment was showing symptoms of Ebola virus.

The matron is one of the health workers at the Obalende, Lagos hospital who attended to Sawyer before he died of the disease (Ebola) on July 25..

A female medical doctor, who also participated in managing the Liberian- American was confirmed on Monday by the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, to have contracted the deadly virus.

Apart from the female medical doctor and the matron, six other people suspected to have been infected with the virus are being quarantined at the IDH, Yaba.

Ojo, who added that 30 striking doctors had volunteered to attend to the medical needs of all those with Ebola-related case, stated that the female medical doctor was stable.

He said, “We know that the infected doctor is stable, however, the matron is showing symptoms too. But everybody, including the experts from the World Health Organisation, are doing all they can.

“Strike or no strike, we must respond to emergencies. Our doctors are at the Yaba hospital where isolated contacts are being monitored.”

Ojo however said the NMA was having a challenge getting volunteers to be part of the Ebola Case Management Committee because of the fear of contracting the virus.

The NMA chairman said, “There are seven committees working on the management of the disease at the centre in Lagos which our members are part of.

“ But the committee which we are having a challenge getting volunteers is that of case management. This committee comprises people that work directly with confirmed cases.

“Our doctors are worried about the danger it(Ebola virus) poses to their lives and they need to be reassured.

“We understand their fears and we are making moves to confirm the level of preparedness of the government for doctors.”

He stressed the need for the government to put adequate measures in place to assure health workers of their safety in stemming the virus.

“ Look at the protective measures that doctors in Liberia and Guinea wear. They are well protected, yet some of them still caught it,” Ojo said.

A doctor in one of the committees, Dr. Babajide Saheed, said they were working closely with WHO and other stakeholders to contain the spread of the virus.

Saheed said,” Not all doctors can attend to an Ebola patient. In fact, you must limit the number of health workers treating affected persons just to contain the risk.

“We will be escalating the situation if doctors rush to the Mainland hospital to attend to patients.”

A top official of the IDH said the Lagos State Government should designate one of its hospitals to accommodate more persons that might be isolated for monitoring.

“The mainland hospital may not be enough if we are to isolate more persons who had contact with Sawyer and those who have had direct contact with those people too,” he added.

He said that “ instead of using a ward in an hospital, it is better to just designate a whole hospital and evacuate patients from it.”

The Bloomberg Businessweek reported on Tuesday that Nigeria was considering applying for a dose of the experimental Ebola therapy to treat the Lagos female doctor.

“We will exploit the possibility of getting some (ZMapp Experimental Drug),” the Lagos State Health Commissioner, Jide Idris, said.

The San Diego, United States-based Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc.’s experimental ZMapp drug had only been tested on infected animals before it was given to Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, the two U S health workers who were infected with the virus in Liberia.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Patrick Sawyer's Final Hours in Lagos



Barely 24 hours before his death, Patrick Sawyer had a rather strange - and in the words of medical and diplomatic sources here, “Indiscipline” encounter with nurses and health workers at First Consultants Hospital in Obalende, one of the most crowded parts of Lagos, a population of some 21 million inhabitants, FrontPageAfrica has learned.




Looking to get to the bottom of Sawyer’s strange ailment on the Asky Airline flight, which Sawyer transferred on in Togo, hospital officials say, he was tested for both malaria and HIV AIDS.

However, when both tests came back negative, he was then asked whether he had made contact with any person with the Ebola Virus, to which Sawyer denied. Sawyer’s sister, Princess had died of the deadly virus on Monday, July 7, 2014 at the Catholic Hospital in Monrovia.

On Friday, July 25, 2014, 18 days later, Sawyer died in Lagos.


The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that the average incubation period for suspected cases or someone who has made contact with an Ebola patient is eight to ten days from exposure to onset of symptoms. The range is from two to 21 days.


“That's why we recommend that contacts of an infected person go on a fever watch for 21 days,” says Stephan Monroe, deputy director of CDC's National Center for Emerging Zoonotic and Infectious Diseases, at a briefing Monday.


‘Against Medical Advice’


Since the first report surfaced in March, there have been more than 1,201 cases reported and unfortunately 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the CDC says.

“This is the largest Ebola outbreak in history and the first in West Africa. It’s a rapidly changing situation and we expect there will be more cases in these countries in the coming weeks and months. The response to this outbreak will be more of a marathon than a sprint.”

Back in Lagos, authorities at the First Consultants Hospital in Obalende decided that despite Sawyer’s denial, they would test him for Ebola, due to the fact that he had just arrived from Liberia, where there has been an outbreak of the disease with more than 100 deaths.


The hospital issued a statement this week stating that Sawyer was quarantined immediately after he was discovered to have been infected with the deadly virus.


In addition, a barrier nursing was implemented around Sawyer and the Lagos State Ministry of Health was immediately notified. Hospital authorities also requested the Federal Ministry of Health for additional laboratory test based on its suspicion of Ebola.


FrontPageAfrica has now learned that upon being told he had Ebola, Mr. Sawyer went into a rage, denying and objecting to the opinion of the medical experts.

“He was so adamant and difficult that he took the tubes from his body and took off his pants and urinated on the health workers, forcing them to flee."


The hospital would later report that it resisted immense pressure to let out Sawyer from its hospital against the insistence from some higher-ups and conference organizers that he had a key role to play at the ECOWAS convention in Calabar, the Cross River State capital.

In fact, FrontPageAfrica has been informed that officials in Monrovia were in negotiations with ECOWAS to have Sawyer flown back to Liberia. Read the full news from the Source http://crofsblogs.typepad.com/h5n1/2014/07/ebola-in-nigeriapatrick-sawyers-final-hours-in-lagos.html

Ebola in Nigeria: Patrick Sawyer’s final hours in Lagos

Barely 24 hours before his death, Patrick Sawyer had a rather strange - and in the words of medical and diplomatic sources here, “Indiscipline” encounter with nurses and health workers at First Consultants Hospital in Obalende, one of the most crowded parts of Lagos, a population of some 21 million inhabitants, FrontPageAfrica has learned. Looking to get to the bottom of Sawyer’s strange ailment on the Asky Airline flight, which Sawyer transferred on in Togo, hospital officials say, he was tested for both malaria and HIV AIDS. However, when both tests came back negative, he was then asked whether he had made contact with any person with the Ebola Virus, to which Sawyer denied. Sawyer’s sister, Princess had died of the deadly virus on Monday, July 7, 2014 at the Catholic Hospital in Monrovia. On Friday, July 25, 2014, 18 days later, Sawyer died in Lagos. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that the average incubation period for suspected cases or someone who has made contact with an Ebola patient is eight to ten days from exposure to onset of symptoms. The range is from two to 21 days. “That's why we recommend that contacts of an infected person go on a fever watch for 21 days,” says Stephan Monroe, deputy director of CDC's National Center for Emerging Zoonotic and Infectious Diseases, at a briefing Monday. ‘Against Medical Advice’ Since the first report surfaced in March, there have been more than 1,201 cases reported and unfortunately 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the CDC says. “This is the largest Ebola outbreak in history and the first in West Africa. It’s a rapidly changing situation and we expect there will be more cases in these countries in the coming weeks and months. The response to this outbreak will be more of a marathon than a sprint.” Back in Lagos, authorities at the First Consultants Hospital in Obalende decided that despite Sawyer’s denial, they would test him for Ebola, due to the fact that he had just arrived from Liberia, where there has been an outbreak of the disease with more than 100 deaths. The hospital issued a statement this week stating that Sawyer was quarantined immediately after he was discovered to have been infected with the deadly virus. In addition, a barrier nursing was implemented around Sawyer and the Lagos State Ministry of Health was immediately notified. Hospital authorities also requested the Federal Ministry of Health for additional laboratory test based on its suspicion of Ebola. FrontPageAfrica has now learned that upon being told he had Ebola, Mr. Sawyer went into a rage, denying and objecting to the opinion of the medical experts. “He was so adamant and difficult that he took the tubes from his body and took off his pants and urinated on the health workers, forcing them to flee." The hospital would later report that it resisted immense pressure to let out Sawyer from its hospital against the insistence from some higher-ups and conference organizers that he had a key role to play at the ECOWAS convention in Calabar, the Cross River State capital. In fact, FrontPageAfrica has been informed that officials in Monrovia were in negotiations with ECOWAS to have Sawyer flown back to Liberia. Read the full news from

Second Ebola patient arrives in U.S. for more treatment: TV report

ATLANTA (Reuters) - A plane carrying a second American aid worker infected with Ebola from West Africa arrived in Maine to refuel on Tuesday and was due to continue to Atlanta so the woman can receive further treatment for the deadly virus.

Missionary Nancy Writebol, 59, departed from Liberia on Monday in a medical aircraft. She was aboard a plane that landed at Bangor International Airport in Maine just after 8 a.m. EST (1200 GMT) on Tuesday, television station WCSH of Portland, Maine, reported.

The station carried live coverage of the plane stopping to refuel at the airport.

Writebol's arrival came a day after Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City said it was testing a man who traveled to a West African nation where Ebola has been reported. He arrived at the emergency room on Monday with a high fever and a stomach ache, but was in good condition, hospital officials said.

The New York City Health Department, after consulting with the hospital and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a statement on Monday evening that "the patient is unlikely to have Ebola. Specimens are being tested for common causes of illness and to definitively exclude Ebola."

The patient added to concerns about the disease, which has killed nearly 900 people since February and has no proven cure. The death rate in the current epidemic is about 60 percent, experts say.

Writebol will be treated by infectious disease specialists in a special isolation ward at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, according to Christian missionary group SIM USA.

The mother of two from Charlotte, North Carolina, is a longtime missionary who had been working for SIM USA as a hygienist who decontaminated protective suits worn by healthcare workers inside an isolation unit at a Monrovia treatment center.

Emory's specialists have since Saturday been treating 33-year-old U.S. doctor Kent Brantly, who also returned home after being stricken with Ebola during the emergency response to the worst outbreak on record of the virus.

Writebol and Brantly, believed to be the first Ebola patients ever treated in the United States, served on a joint team in Monrovia run by Christian aid groups SIM USA and Samaritan's Purse. They returned separately because the plane equipped to transport them could carry only one patient at a time.

The pair both saw their conditions improve by varying degrees in Liberia after they received an experimental drug previously tested only on monkeys, a representative for Samaritan's Purse said.

US STATE DEPARTMENT EBOLA ALERT

In order to help our Community better understand some of the key points about the Ebola Virus, we have consulted with our medical specialists at the US State Department and assembled this list of bullet points worded in plain language for easy comprehension. Our medical specialists remind everyone that they should be following the guidelines from the Centre for Disease Control and the World Health Organisation:



• The suspected reservoirs for Ebola are fruit bats
• Transmission to humans is thought to originate from infected bats or primates that have become infected by bats.
• Undercooked infected bat and primate (bush) meat transmits the virus to humans.
• Human to human transmission is only achieved by physical contact with a person who is acutely and gravely ill from the Ebola Virus or their body fluids.
• Transmission among humans is almost exclusively among caregiver family members or health care workers tending to the very ill.
• The virus is easily killed by contact with soap, bleach, sunlight or drying. A washing machine will kill the virus in clothing saturated with infected body fluids.
• A person can incubate the virus without symptoms for 2-21 days, the average being 5-8 days before becoming ill. THEY ARE NOT CONTAGIOUS until they are acutely ill.
• Only when ill does the viral load express itself first in the blood and then in other bodily fluids (to include vomit, faeces, urine, bosom milk, Fluid and sweat).
• If you are walking around you are not infectious to others.
• There are documented cases from Kikwit, DRC of an Ebola outbreak in a village that had the custom of children never touching an ill adult. Children living for days in small one room huts with parents who died from Ebola did not become infected.
• You cannot contract Ebola by handling money, buying local bread or swimming in a pool
• There is no medical reason to stop flights, close borders, restrict travel or close embassies, businesses or schools.
• As always practice good hand washing techniques.
• You will not contract Ebola if you do not touch a dying person.


Please share this information with your friends and families and try not to spread panic on social media.

WHO: Three "probable" Ebola cases in Nigeria

Between 31 July and 1 August 2014, a total of 163 new cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD; laboratory-confirmed, probable, and suspect cases) as well as 61 deaths were reported from Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. Three of these cases are in Nigeria and include two new probable cases — one is a health-care worker and one is a Nigerian who travelled to Guinea — and a suspected case in a nurse.


National authorities in Ghana, Nigeria, and Togo continue to work closely with WHO and its partners in identification of contacts and contact tracing as well as in preparing response plans as a result of the recent visit by and death of a Liberian national to Nigeria from EVD and the new Nigerian EVD probable case, who travelled to Guinea.

BMA Information Fund 2014 - Now open for applications

The BMA Information Fund is run by the BMA International Department. The Fund provides health information and educational materials to health-focused organisations in developing countries. See the website for further information: www.bma.org.uk/informationfund

Applications for 2014 are now open. They will be accepted until the cap of 100 applications has been reached or until Friday 29th August (5pm BST). We strongly encourage you to get your application in early.

Who can apply?

Healthcare institutions
Medical schools
Libraries
Health-focused non-governmental organisations or similar

Please note we are not able to respond to requests from individuals.

What do we donate?
The BMA supplies health related educational and training materials (e.g. books, CDs and DVDs). Quantities requested may be reduced due to the high number of applications. 
Please note we do not donate money.

How do I apply?
To apply, please read the advice for applicants before completing the application form and book list.: www.bma.org.uk/informationfund
Due to the high volume of applications received, please note that application forms with any information missing will be automatically rejected.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Ebola death toll hits 887 – WHO

The death toll from the world’s worst Ebola outbreak was at 887 on August 1, while the total number of cases in the four West African countries affected stood at 1,603 on the same date, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to figures released Monday by the WHO, Guinea has suffered the highest death toll with 358 fatalities out of 485 confirmed Ebola cases so far. Sierra Leone has had the largest number of cases, 646 overall, and 273 deaths, while Liberia has had 468 cases and 255 deaths.

Nigeria, the latest country to import the disease, has had four cases, of which three are classed as “probable” Ebola and one as “suspected”, the Geneva-based agency said in a statement.

The case of Patrick Sawyer, an American who died shortly after flying from Liberia at Lagos airport via Togo and Ghana, is still classed as “probable”. The WHO previously said it had not managed to check his sample because courier companies had refused to transport it to the Institut Pasteur in Dakar.

The other two probable Ebola cases in Nigeria were a health-care worker and a Nigerian who had been to Guinea, the WHO said.

Nigeria itself has reported only the cases of Sawyer and, on Monday, one of the doctors who treated him.

A senior official in the Lagos state Ministry of Health declined to comment on the discrepancy.

Source: PUNCH NEWSPAPER.

Iwu, five others listed on Ebola panel

The Federal Government on Monday in Abuja inaugurated a six-man Working Group to carry out research on the treatment of Ebola virus.

The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, inaugurated the committee co-chaired by Prof. Karniyus Gamanie, Director-General, National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRID), Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the other co-chair is the Director-General of Nigerian Institute for Medical Research, Prof. Innocent Ujah.

Chukwu said there was no known cure for the Ebola infection nationwide at present, adding that there was “no scientific evidence’’ that eating bitter kola, could cure Ebola infection.

The minister was referring to media reports that suggested bitter kola could cure Ebola infection based on a research conducted by a Pharmacognosist and former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Maurice Iwu.

The minister, who acknowledged the internationally acclaimed research of Iwu, also named him as one of the committee members.

“We have taken note that Iwu’s research has not been concluded. We also feel that in addition to mass enlightenment, we should not neglect the issue of research on Ebola disease,” he said.

Chukwu said researches were going on across laboratories worldwide on vaccines for the treatment of the virus.

He gave the terms of reference of the committee to include – conducting research into the treatment of the Ebola virus.

He said the committee should receive and verify claims relating to the treatment of the disease, including uncompleted researches carried out in 1999 in the United States by Iwu and his team.

Other members of the committee are the Project Coordinator for Nigeria Center for Disease Control, the Director of Public Health, Ministry of Health and the Director of Health Planning, Research and Statistics.

Secret serum likely saved Ebola patients

Three top secret, experimental vials stored at subzero temperatures were flown into Liberia last week in a last-ditch effort to save two American missionary workers who had contracted Ebola, according to a source familiar with details of the treatment.

On July 22, Dr. Kent Brantly woke up feeling feverish. Fearing the worst, Brantly immediately isolated himself. Nancy Writebol's symptoms started three days later. A rapid field blood test confirmed the infection in both of them after they had become ill with fever, vomiting and diarrhea.

It's believed both Brantly and Writebol, who worked with the aid organization Samaritan's Purse, contracted Ebola from another health care worker at their hospital in Liberia, although the official Centers for Disease Control and Prevention case investigation has yet to be released.


A representative from the National Institutes of Health contacted Samaritan's Purse in Liberia and offered the experimental treatment, known as ZMapp, for the two patients, according to the source.

The drug was developed by the biotech firm Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc. The patients were told that this treatment had never been tried before in a human being but had shown promise in small experiments with monkeys.

According to company documents, four monkeys infected with Ebola survived after being given the therapy within 24 hours after infection. Two of four additional monkeys that started therapy within 48 hours after infection also survived. One monkey that was not treated died within five days of exposure to the virus.

Brantly and Writebol were aware of the risk of taking a new, little understood treatment; informed consent was obtained from both Americans, according to two sources familiar with the care of the missionary workers. In the monkeys, the experimental serum had been given within 48 hours of infection. Brantly didn't receive it until he'd been sick for nine days.

The medicine is a three-mouse monoclonal antibody, meaning that mice were exposed to fragments of the Ebola virus and then the antibodies generated within the mice's blood were harvested to create the medicine. It works by preventing the virus from entering and infecting new cells.

The Ebola virus causes viral hemorrhagic fever, which refers to a group of viruses that affect multiple organ systems in the body and are often accompanied by bleeding.

Early symptoms include sudden onset of fever, weakness, muscle pain, headaches and a sore throat. They later progress to vomiting, diarrhea, impaired kidney and liver function -- and sometimes internal and external bleeding.

The ZMapp vials reached the hospital in Liberia where Brantly and Writebol were being treated Thursday morning. Doctors were instructed to allow the vials to thaw naturally without any additional heat. It was expected that it would be eight to 10 hours before the medicine could be given, according to a source familiar with the process.

Brantly asked that Writebol be given the first dose because he was younger and he thought he had a better chance of fighting it, and she agreed. However, as the first vial was still thawing, Brantly's condition took a sudden turn for the worse.

Brantly began to deteriorate and developed labored breathing. He told his doctors he thought he was dying, according to a source with firsthand knowledge of the situation.

Knowing his dose was still frozen, Brantly asked if he could have Writebol's now-thawed medication. It was brought to his room and administered through an IV. Within an hour of receiving the medication, Brantly's condition dramatically improved. He began breathing easier; the rash over his trunk faded away. One of his doctors described the events as "miraculous."

By the next morning, Brantly was able to take a shower on his own before getting on a specially designed Gulfstream air ambulance jet to be evacuated to the United States.

Writebol also received a vial of the medication. Her response was not as remarkable, according to sources familiar with the treatment. However, doctors on Sunday administered Writebol a second dose of the medication, which resulted in significant improvement.

She was stable enough to be evacuated back to the United States and is expected to arrive before noon Tuesday.

ZMapp has not been approved for human use, and has not even gone through the clinical trial process, which is standard to prove the safety and efficacy of a medication. The process by which the medication was made available to Brantly and Writebol is highly unusual. It may have fallen under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's "compassionate use" regulation, which allows access to investigational drugs outside clinical trials.

Getting approval for compassionate use is often long and laborious, but in the case of Brantly and Writebol, they received the medication within seven to 10 days of their exposure to the Ebola virus.

On July 30, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, an arm of the military responsible for any chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosive threats, allotted additional funding to MAPP Biopharmaceutical due to "promising results."

Source: http://edition.cnn.com/2014/08/04/health/experimental-ebola-serum/index.html?c=&page=2