Tuesday, 5 August 2014

NEWS:: Lagos Takes Sensitisation on Ebola Virus to T.B Joshua

Lagos State Government stepped up its surveillance on the
Ebola virus yesterday, with its officials visiting a church in
continuation of its enlightenment campaign.

Officials of Lagos State Ministry of Health and the Federal
Government visited the Synagogue Church of All Nations
(SCOAN), seeking the cooperation of its General Overseer
Prophet Temitope Joshua in ensuring Ebola victims are not
brought to his church for healing.

The SCOAN, a church reputed for its claims of divine healing,
is a popular destination for the sick.

Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, who led the delegation
to the SCOAN, said it was in recognition that the church is an
international Christian congregation whose members comprise
people from all over the world, including the countries of West
African sub-region already affected by the disease.
The commissioner added that the visit is one of the state
government’s strategies of sensitising faith-based
organisations on the need to cooperate with the government to
prevent the spread of the disease by educating worshippers to
report health issues to medical experts.

Idris said the Federal and state governments were working hard
to prevent the virus from coming into the country.

“We have our strategies that we intend to share with you.
Again, we need to know the resources you have here because
whether it is one or two cases, if they are allowed to get out, it
is a major problem. We are here to work together on how to
contain this disease,” Idris told the cleric.

Another member of the delegation and Director, Centre for
Disease Control (CDC), Professor Abdulsalami Nasidi, said the
visit was to inform the church’s leadership about the
deadliness of the Ebola virus and to ensure that it does not
enter Nigeria.

Nasidi, who is an epidemiologist and a virologist, said the
meeting was a “positive engagement mission”. “We are here to
engage you positively. We know the powers of this House and
your powers and we are duty- bound to protect you and your
congregation. We have no doubt the power God has given you;
we can’t do that, but we want to help and make it work
stronger,” he said.

While the delegation came short of telling the cleric not to
accept victims of the disease who may want to seek healing in
his church, it however made it clear that the government would
do everything to ensure the disease is not imported into the
country under any guise, after a Liberian government official
died of the virus in a Lagos hospital. He flew into the country to
attend an Economic Community of West African States
(ECOWAS) meeting in Calabar.

Professor Nasidi said the government is worried as the
Synagogue congregation comprises of people from around the

He said government would provide technical and medical
expertise to help the Synagogue team deal with any suspected
Ebola case. “ We have experts from the World Health
Organisation (WHO), Dr. Musa is an expert who has all the
guidelines, we have Dr. Yaunti of the UNICEF, he has all the
materials to work with you, to make sure your people know
how to handle Ebola.”

The experts are to work with the Committee on Technical
issues and the church’s health team to “ train them on how to
handle this dangerous situation, pass some materials to them,
share knowledge with them and if need be provide some
technical materials,” Nasidi said.

The committee will also provide underground medical support
to the Synagogue church laboratories to be able to diagnose
the virus.

The delegation also reiterated that the Ebola disease comes
from a most deadly virus which “ spreads so fast from man to
man especially those who come in contact with the victims,
share body fluid during treatments.”
Nasidi said: “ These are the areas we felt we should come and
engage and work with you to ensure that members of your
congregation, everybody in Lagos and Nigeria will be free of
this disease.”

Prophet Joshua promised to work with the government to
ensure that the disease does not spread into the country. He
said he would put some measures in place to ensure people
from the affected countries do not enter Nigeria.

According to the faith healer, one of such measures would be
to visit any of the countries when necessary rather than allow
their residents come into Nigeria. He would also suspend
some of his church healing programmes for a few weeks. “I am
ready to work with you, I love my country and I will be ready to
work with you. Even if it is a rumour, there is need to secure
our environment to ensure that it is safe,” Joshua said.

On the team were the Special Adviser on Information and
Strategy, Mr. Lateef Raji, his media counterpart, Mr. Hakeem
Bello, and Dr. Frank Mahoney from the CDC.

Source: TheNation

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