Ebola: Doctors Against Sept 22 Schools’ Resumption Date

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) is not happy with the Federal Government’s directive to schools to resume on September 22 as against October 12.

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The NMA is of the opinion that all schools should not resume until all those who are under surveillance for the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the country had been certified free.

Speaking through its National Secretary-General, Dr. Olawunmi Alayaki, the NMA said: “We are not happy with this decision on the resumption of schools. Schools should be shut till the last suspected case or patient is certified free of the virus.

“We can shift the resumption date till next year or in the next three months if that is the time it will take. Government should have enough time to follow the standard procedure for containing   the virus.”

Advising parents not to be in a hurry to send off their children to school, Dr. Olawunmi said if Ebola should spread to any school, it would assume another dimension as children cannot survive isolation like adults.

Also speaking, the Lagos State chapter of NMA through its chairman, Dr. Tope Ojo, said that many of the public and private schools in the country lacked basic hygiene and sanitary facilities that could help prevent the spread of the EVD by pupils, adding that it would cost the Federal Government nothing to wait till those under surveillance have completed the 21 days in all the states where they are being monitored.

The immediate president of the NMA, Dr. Osahon Enabulele, wondered the safety parameters that were used by the government before fixing the September 22 resumption date.

Enabulele said: “We must know the parameters that the Federal Government used to arrive at the resumption date in the first place. Has the Federal Government carried out a safety assessment in registered schools in the country? There should be a checklist and only those who meet it should be certified fit to reopen.”

A consultant paediatrician with the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi- Araba, Prof. Edamisan Temiye, also called on the three tiers of government to ensure that clean water flows in the schools’ premises so that children can wash their hands regularly.

Nigeria’s Ministry for Education had announced that all public and private schools would remain shut till October as part of the “preventive measures” against the Ebola virus, which was brought into Nigeria in July.

Just last week, the resumption date was reviewed and it was brought forward to September 22 as against October 2014.

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