Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Ebola: Doctors reject September 22 schools resumption date

The Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, has rejected the Monday September 22nd resumption directive given by FG to all Primary and Secondary schools due to the Ebola outbreak in Nigeria.
The NMA speaking through its National Publicity Secretary, Dr Olawunmi Layaki, said they expect all schools to remain closed until December or early next year when all Ebola suspects under surveillance have been cleared and certified free of the virus.

"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. Parents have no reason to be in a hurry because if Ebola should enter any school, it will assume another dimension. Children cannot survive isolation like adults. Nigeria is peculiar because of her large population and we should be pragmatic and proactive. It will not augur well for the country if we have another outbreak due to carelessness.” it said

In the same vein, the chairman of the Lagos state chapter of the association, Dr Tope Ojo said most public schools lack basic hygienic facilities and this would expose the students to easy spread of the virus.

"It would not have cost the Federal Government anything to have waited till those under surveillance have completed the 21 days in all the states where they are being monitored. The government knows that it takes a longer time for children to get used to the idea of hygiene and sanitation. They are even more vulnerable because they would play with each other whether they are sick or not. How many children know that they should use hand sanitizers or avoid contact with anybody that has fever? Waiting till October when at least the situations in Rivers and Lagos states would have been conclusively managed is another safety measure the government should have taken. These kids are not studying to get a degree, so we are sure it would not have affected schools’ curricula.” he said

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