Saturday, 20 September 2014

EBOLA: Rivers STATE schools to resume Oct 6

Public and private schools in Rivers State will resume for the 2014/2015 academic year on October 6, said the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Sampson Parker, yesterday.
Highly contagious Ebola virus disease (EVD) broke out in Lagos and Rivers states in July and August respectively, after it was brought into Lagos by a Liberian-American citizen, Patrick Sawyer.
It later spread to Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, through an ECOWAS diplomat, Oluibukun Koye, who had primary contact with late Sawyer at the Lagos international airport and was treated in a hotel in Port Harcourt by Dr. Iyke Enemuo, who also got infected and died of the disease.
To control further spread of the virus, the Federal Government announced the delay of schools’ resumption till October 13, only to bring it forward to September 22 at a meeting at a meeting the Federal Ministry of Education held with commissioners of education on September 6.
But the Rivers State Government has rejected the new resumption date announced by the Federal Government, saying that it was still trying to trace some people who had contact with the late Enemuo and a woman who became the second victim in the state.
Briefing journalists in Port Harcourt yesterday, Parker announced that primary and secondary schools in the state would resume on October 6 in the hope that before then, the number of contacts being traced and those under surveillance would have reduced.
He threatened to shut down any school that falls short of the state government’s health regulations before opening for the session and warned parents to stop any sick child from going to school while he or she is being treated.
Parker said: “We currently have 253 contacts under surveillance, and we hope that by weekend, the number would have come down significantly.
“We expect that quite a number of those under surveillance would have been discharged in batches. We had a suspected case at the isolation unit, but the result of the test proved negative.
“By October 2, we can say with a measure of confidence that the outbreak of Ebola is over in Rivers State.
“We can say that the spread of Ebola is over in Nigeria from the results that have come out of our collective efforts. Our challenge will remain Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
“Primary and secondary schools, in concert with the federal system of government that we operate in Nigeria, are actually within the jurisdiction of the state ministry of education. Our decision to resume on October 6 does not in any way contradict the position of the Federal Government.
“Please remember that the condition of Rivers State is peculiar, considering the fact that the outbreak of Ebola in our state is the most recent.
“Rivers is the state that is currently hard hit by the Ebola disease in Nigeria. Remember, the minister said that schools can resume as from September 22. We have to take into consideration our local concerns.
“Any school in Rivers State that does not meet the standard of our health regulations will be closed down.
“We will not accept anything below the required health standard that we have stipulated. Whatever is needful for the schools to meet up with environmental and health requirements will be provided by the state government.
“Parents should not send their sick children to school. The regulation of schools will be more rigorous this time around. We acknowledge the reality that we are in an emergency situation right now. But we will do all that is needful to contain the spread of Ebola in Rivers State.”
The visiting Nigeria Representative of United Nations International Cultural Education Fund (UNICEF), Jean Gough, praised the state for the ability to contain the spread of the virus, but warned the Nigerian government and its citizens to be watchful to avoid a relapse of what had been achieved.
“We have come to Rivers State to support its efforts to contain the spread of Ebola. The state government has done well. I ask Nigerians to remain vigilant because the disease is still around us,” he said.


Post a comment