Minister of State for Health, Khaliru Alhassan, on Monday in Abuja launched 30 surveillance and operational vehicles for emergency response to Ebola Virus and other diseases.
Alhassan, while speaking at the launching, said the vehicles were meant to help the country respond to any possible emergence of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).
“The vehicles will be deployed to the country’s borders to ensure appropriate monitoring of people coming and going through the borders.
“The vehicles will be distributed particularly to major borders to ensure that health workers are properly equipped to do their job effectively,’’ the minister said.
He credited the success of halting the spread of EVD in Nigeria to the leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan.
Alhassan also said the efforts of the Lagos State and Rivers Governments, as well as the immediate past Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, were very impressive.
He however said while the World Health Organisation (WHO) had declared Nigeria free of EVD, the situation still called for more vigilance.
The minister said there was the need to be more vigilant, considering that EVD was still affecting neighbouring countries like Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, amongst others.
“As long as EVD is still ravaging countries around Nigeria, it remains a threat, and we don’t have to wait for emergencies of diseases breaking out before we plan for response.
“We have agreed to continue to progressively invest in disease surveillance, preparedness and response,” he said.
Alhassan said the Federal Government was committed to supporting the six geo-political zones to establish isolation centres and put in place some of the materials required to curtail EVD outbreaks.
“The Federal Government will continue to strengthen reference laboratories across the six geo-political zones of the country to facilitate diagnosis of diseases,’’ he said.
The minister however appealed to state governments to emulate the Federal Government in its efforts at preventing EVD and other related diseases from getting to their various states.
“The state governments should emulate the Federal Government to continue to strengthen their surveillance, preparedness and response to outbreaks of diseases,” Alhassan said.
He also commended Nigerians for contributing to the curtailing of EVD, and further encouraged them to be vigilant.
The minister, however, said the Federal Government would provide more logistics, vehicles and motorcycles to ensure all the borders were reached and were well secured.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that EVD was first noticed on July 24 when a Liberian national, Patrick Sawyer, visited Nigeria.
However, the last cases till date were recorded on Sept. 7 and Sept. 12 in Rivers and Lagos State respectively.