In only less than a week Nigeria will officially be declared Ebola free after successfully containing the disease that has so far killed 4,000 people. Of the 20 people that have been infected in the country, eight people have died and there no new cases have come up since September.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) had placed Nigeria in a 42 day period to confirm that the outbreak is more in Nigeria, and the country is only less than a week from completing it.
The Ebola outbreak had started for Nigeria in July, when Liberian-American Patrick Sawyer collapsed in the arrivals hall of Lagos airport, exposing 72 plane passengers, the airport and hospital patients to the disease.
He was taken to the First Consultants Medical Centre, and was effectively quarantined, despite pressure from the Liberian ambassador and 11 workers being infected by the virus, four of them dying.
From that moment on, Nigerian authorities raced to trace anyone that may have had contact with those infected, including an emergency presidential decree allowing officials to access mobile phone records and law enforcement agencies to track people down.
900 people in total- 361 in Lagos and 529 in Port Harcourt were monitored for symptoms for 21 days, during which they were required to give health authorities updates about their health twice a day. Any who weren’t feeling well or failed to give an update was checked on.
Almost all institutions in Nigeria pulled together to control the outbreak, an example being the Port Health Services keeping close contact with airlines to ensure outbreak notifications were made and the Ministry of Health activated an Ebola Incident Management Centre to lead the national response.
Dr Tom Frieden, director of the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has shown praise for Nigeria’s response to the outbreak.
“Although Nigeria isn’t completely out of the woods, their exclusive response to a single case of Ebola shows that control is possible with rapid, focused interventions.”