NewsReel 25/9/14 - Taming The Ebola Virus Disease

[ Masterweb Reports: Mr. Patrick Okpomu reports ] - It came like a thief in the night, unannounced but deadly. And since its secret arrival, death has been stalking the land, leaving fear, sorrow and tears in its wake.

Yet only a few days ago, a fellow African country, who shares no immediate border with us and whose health infrastructure is no where as developed as ours, has banned Nigerian passengers and Nigerian flights into its territory. A Nigerian proverb states that we should keep our eyes open while we shed tears.

It took an errant and unfortunate visit of the late American-Liberian Patrick Sawyer to Lagos for the scourge to register its presence in Nigeria. The man collapse and need hospitalization immediately on arrival on our shores, had he spent a few more hours in town or made it to his conference city the consequences would have been devastating.


Investigation and research carried out by INITIATIVE FOR NATIONAL REBIRTH complementing President Goodluck Jonathan’s TRANSFORMATION AGENDA OF HEALTH CARE REFORMS through sensitization workshops and awareness campaigns reveals that this worm-like virus has a devious way of working. Once it gets in the body, the virus attaches itself to the surface of the cells. Then it invades them, replicates and causes the cells to explode, sending infectious particles flying. From there, Ebola overpower the immune system. It uses the very cells that are meant to fight infection to travel to other parts of the body including the liver, spleen, kidneys and brain. It attacks almost every organ and tissue. The particle explosion also sets off an overwhelming inflammatory reaction. That’s what causes the sudden flu-like symptoms that are the first sign of Ebola. Inside the blood vessel, the virus causes abnormal clotting and bleeding at the same time. Bleeding into the skin causes a red rash that appears all over. With the ability to clot normally destroyed, bleeding occurs internally as well as from the eyes, ears and nose. This whole cascade of events causes the organs to fail. The loss of blood, along with organ failure, is what makes Ebola so deadly. But if doctors can keep the organs working with intravenous fluids, blood transfusions, a ventilator and other treatments, there’s a much better chance they can save lives. The infection moves fast and it can kill in one to two weeks. In the current outbreak, about 60-70 percent of the people who caught the virus have died. Many more could likely be saved with better access to medical care.


The signs to look out for the deadly Ebola virus are many and varied. They are high fever, headache, joint and muscle pains, sore throat, general body weakness, stomach pain, red eyes, loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea, bleeding from eyes, ears, nose, mouth and skin.


Our investigations reveal that there is no vaccine and there is no cure for Ebola virus in Nigeria for now. Survival rates can be as low as 1 in 10: so far in West Africa, just over 60 percent of recorded cases have ended in death. So “prevention is better than cure” as the saying goes. INITIATIVE FOR NATIONAL REBIRTH have a responsibility to play its part to ensure that the public are enlightened about this disease and how it’s transmitted, prevented and controlled because during an out-break, those at higher risk of infection are health workers, family members and others in close contact with sick people and deceased patients. It is advisable to ensure higher level of personal hygiene such as hand washing with soap, use of sanitizers and protective gears when dealing with all patients dead or alive, environmental hygiene such as fumigation, regular cleaning of surfaces with disinfectant and bleach and avoid contact with person severely ill with Ebola. Also avoid coming in contact with the urine, excreta and blood of Monkeys, Bat, Gorilla among others, and throw away food eaten partially by Rat.


The Lagos State Government and the Federal Government deserve some praise for the coordinated response for containing the Ebola virus and initiating measures against its spread. They put out a massive and coordinated public education and awareness campaign. All officials pushed the same message with the same emphasis, factual and unemotional irrespective of political affiliations and beliefs.
NOTE: What we would want to emphasize is the leadership from the Federal Government of Nigeria to tackle this epidemic. The presence and leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan being proactive, calling on all Governors and Commissioners of Health in order to understand the current level is quite commendable.


The present scourge of Ebola virus should have been taken care of if there were appropriate support for research in Nigeria.

We are advising the Federal Government to strengthen the drive to ensure that researchers are supported by Government and if supported the outcome will be very useful to Nigerian Pharmacists and the society at large, in terms of making efficacious medicines available. The Nigerian Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) laboratory need to be upgraded as a matter of urgency, to be able to produce necessary drugs to cope with the threat being posed by Ebola Virus Disease. NIPRD requires P4 laboratory to complement what they have in stock to be able to meet the current challenges triggered by the EVD. A P4 laboratory is a high containment laboratory facility that can safely handle deadly pathogens such as the Small Pox and the Ebola Viruses. This laboratory is needed urgently to enable the agency to fast-track research into drugs that could be used as palliative for the Ebola Virus Disease.

Government should step up adequate counseling for Ebola patients in order to mitigate the fear of Ebola Virus. And people should subject their selves to regular checks. 

Though, in the interim, INITIATIVE FOR NATIONAL REBIRTH with its extensive global network seeks technical support and collaboration with Western Nations including the British Secretary of State for Health, RT. HON. JEREMY HUNT (MP) in the areas of treatment, prevention and control of the Ebola Virus Disease with the Federal Ministry of Health in Nigeria, as collaborative effort is required to achieve these objectives.

We urge fellow Nigerians and Nigerians in Diaspora to join support the TRANSFORMATION AGENDA of Mr. President and the 2015 re-election project.


Thank you for the courtesy of your attention. God bless you.


Patrick Okpomu 
National Coordinator
TEL: 08037406698
EMAIL: -national


*Photo Caption - An Ebola patient


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