Friday, February 6, 2015

Ebola survivors gets sack letters in Lagos

From Ayodele Samuel and Akilani Abdullah, Lagos Two survivors of Ebola Virus Disease EVD have petitioned the Lagos state government over stigmatization and sack from office for being linked to the disease, despite being discharged and certified free from the disease. The state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris said this while briefing newsmen on the efforts of government to contain the virus said the state government is determined to ensure that survivors are reintegrated back into the society without discrimination. He warned against stigmatizing survivors of the virus that have been given a clean bill of health, saying erring residents will be prosecuted. He added that the cases of the sacked survivors have been referred to the Ministry of Justice for appropriate action. Idris said government would not hesitate to prosecute any individual or organisation reported to have stigmatized an Ebola survivor in one way or the other. He said, "The social problem being faced by discharged cases has being reported severally. This ranges from stigmatization, eviction from their accommodation, being asked to stay away from work and termination of employment. "We've had cases of employers just terminating the employment of their staff who were just mere contacts, not even suspected cases. We believe this is unfair and we feel this impedes on their fundamental human rights. "One thing I want to emphasize again is that the Ministry of Justice will take the matter up. Anybody, whether a discharged patient or a contact followed up, who feels stigmatized, can petition the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney General of Lagos State and they would take that matter up on their behalf because it is not fair and it is not right." Harping on the dangers of stigmatization, the commissioner noted that it worsen the situation if people are afraid to declare their Ebola States. He appealed to the residents to contribute their quota to ensure that all cases and contacts that have been given a clean bill of health to the society are reintegrated back into the society. According to him, "Stigmatization will further make contacts and suspects to go underground and continue to reverse the gains so far made in the containment and management of this outbreak. "People feel stigmatized and they may not want to come out because of that, they come up with symptoms and they may not come out and jeopardize not only their lives, but their family members and other people they come in contact with. That's why it is essential that people should stop that." He said a total of 366 contacts have been traced since July 22, saying only 19 of these contacts are yet to conclude the 21 days surveillance, while 345 contacts have been cleared and discharged having shown no sign of the symptoms of EVD. On the First Consultants Hospital, where the first case was recorded, the commissioner revealed that the facility has been decontaminated and also certified to reopen for business. He said, "We urge those who use the First Consultants Hospital, to support them, it remains a flagship medical centre. They have been given a clean bill of health.

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