Following the Ebola virus scare which went viral earlier in the week, the Federal government on Thursday dispatched officials from the Ministry of Health to ensure that the facilities of Port Health Service (PHS) at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos were at their optimal capacity to curtail the entry of a carrier of the virus into the country.
This comes even as Port Health workers at the Lagos airport while demonstrating their capacity to curtail the entrance of an infected Ebola passenger into the country, complained to the visiting government team of inadequate personnel noting that they had only one medical doctor at the airport, while nurses were retiring in droves without replacement.
The government team was led by Mr. Abdulazeez Abdullahi, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health who debunked rumours making the rounds that an Ebola infected passenger had entered the country through the Lagos international airport. In the same vein, Abdullahi assured that extra steps were taken in the screening of in-bound passengers to ensure that those infected by the virus don’t gain access to the country.
In recent months, Uganda and Congo DRC have been severely hit by the virus with fears it could spread to Nigeria through travellers going to both countries.
“I am here on a familiarisation visit to access the facilities on ground. On the issue of the Ebola virus scare, there is no truth in the earlier rumour that a traveller with Ebola virus entered the country,” he said.
“On inadequate personnel and the complaints of the service at the airport, we have noted all that. We have excess of staff (in the country) and this thing will be addressed. I can assure you that more personnel would be deployed to this airport very soon,” added Abdullahi.
The Director, Port Health Services, Dr. Morenike Alex-Okoh, who spoke during the facility tour of health equipment had decried the poor service at the airport saying they had only one medical doctor at the airport with two ambulances and also lacked drivers to drive the attached vehicles in case of emergencies.
She urged government to provide all the necessary working tools to in order to enable health workers function optimally, stressing that with this, more lives would be saved in emergency situations.
Also speaking, the International Terminal Manager for the Lagos Airport, Mr. Olatayo Ogini, said FAAN was collaborating with Port Health Service to prevent Ebola-infected passengers from entering the country.
He said: “Since the outbreak of Ebola virus some few years back, we have been collaborating with Port Health Service.
“In D and E arrivals, which are the two points of entries into the Lagos airport, we have facilities for screening passengers. Also at the avio bridge to the boarding area, PHS has equipment there for screening of everyone, which was demonstrated before the permanent secretary and I think he was satisfied with that.
“They have a permanent clinic at our E arrival where we make sure we provide all the equipment they require. We also have isolated clinic for emergency services,” he added.