By Ndidi Chukwu
Nigeria’s 198 Volunteers to Ebola-affected countries will be first held for observation against any Ebola symptoms upon return in a Japanese government procured tents for Nigeria. The containment and decontamination facility is a donation by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) as part of its development Assistance to development countries to facilitate sustainable development.
The site, set on the grounds of the Police Transit Camp in Kuje area of Abuja, will also serve as a holding centre for non-military personnel returning from peacekeeping missions to countries where Ebola or some other infectious disease is present, police authorities said on Thursday.
“As people go in and out on peacekeeping, we have a transit camp here. If there’s any epidemic, there’s enough time to observe,” said assistant inspector general of police Grace Akudo of the police medical services.
“The world is about proactivity.”
But the site is yet to be fitted with accessories or an ambulance. At present, the centre only has tents mounted on concrete platforms.
“A transit camp is nothing if, it has to do with disease control, it has no holding centre,” said Linus Awute, permanent secretary of the federal health ministry.
“It is incomplete but there is no retreat,” he said after inspecting the tents.
The centre will not run until all accessories are installed and a simulation done to see how it would respond in an emergency, Awute suggested. The simulation could help the centre determine the exact staffing it needs in slack periods and in peak periods in the face of an emergency.The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, recently upgraded to a centre for the entire West Africa, said the centre still lacked power generators, a treatment bay, pharmacy, store, incinerators and ambulance bays. NCDC director Abdulsalam Nasidi said the next task would be putting all installations on ground before the centre can begin running.
Contractors delivered the tents three months after talks began about the need for a holding centre, and Japan’s assistance meant no recourse to the rigours of national budgeting for a special centre for Ebola containment and decontamination.
“We hope it won’t be used in the future,” said Tetsuo Seki, chief representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency. “But in case of an outbreak, it is there.”