Nigeria: Nigerian contingent of ASEOWA leaves Wednesday for Ebola-hit countries

Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) – Drawing from their experience in containing the Ebola Virus Disease in Nigeria, 250 Nigerian medical volunteers will Wednesday leave to help fight the disease in three West African countries hard hit by the virus.

The team includes doctors, nurses, laboratory scientists, care givers, epidemiologists, psycho-social and other support staff.

This is the first batch of 504 volunteers expected to be deployed out eventually and they are mainly those who managed the outbreak of Ebola in Nigeria’s Lagos and Rivers states.

The team, which Monday commenced initial drills required for fighting against Ebola in Lagos, is being deployed as part of the 1,000-strong health personnel force under the African Union Support to Ebola Outbreak in West Africa (ASEOWA).  

Apart from Nigeria, others include 210 staff from Ethiopia, while Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya would soon give the number of their volunteers.

The AU Commission's Director of Social Affairs,  Ambassador Olawale Maiyegun, said at the opening of the training that the AU was optimistic of wiping out the EVD from Africa in six months.

He noted that the ‘massive’ deployment of personnel, equipment and supply was one sure way of tackling the ailment head on.

Olawale, who is head of the AU Ebola Mission, noted: “We all know that Ebola has been ravaging West Africa, killing in Sierra Leone and Liberia. But, it was not until August 8 that the WHO declared it as international concern, more or less a humanitarian problem in the entire world."

Recalling that  on 19 August the Peace and Security Council of the AU declared Ebola as a threat to security on the continent, Olawale said that since 19 September the AU has deployed volunteers to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

"We examine the problem. We are very grateful to the various efforts of the international community, particularly, in providing infrastructure, logistics. What was missing in most of the international effort is the human resources for health, which was left largely to non-governmental organizations," he explained.

He said the AU Chairperson in October appealed to all heads of state, requesting them that if each of the 54 member states could contribute at least 20 medical personnel.

Meanwhile, the Project Director of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr.  Abdulsalam Nasidi told the volunteers: “We expect that the wealth of experience you have garnered while tackling Ebola in Nigeria will now be shared by other people for the benefit of our brothers and sisters facing this challenge in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

"I want to state here that the world has acknowledged your role and has decided to learn from us who all did it and make Nigerians proud. I am very proud to announce that it is not only countries in Africa that are willing to share your experiences but countries beyond the continent, including the USA.
-0- PANA MON/AR 1Dec2014

01 december 2014 16:54:43




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