“Rivers state not ready to combat Ebola outbreak” – State Assembly

By IAfrica
In Nigeria
Aug 21st, 2014

The Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Doctor Sampson Parker has appeared before the House of Assembly to give a situation report about the government’s contingency plan in response to the outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease.

Doctor Parker, who appeared before the state lawmakers alongside other stakeholders in the health sector, briefed the House about the agreement the state government signed with Emory Hospital in Atlanta Georgia, U.S.A.

The deal with Emory for human and material assistance in anticipation of patients with Ebola virus disease came after the US hospital treated two American doctors who contacted the virus while working in Liberia.

The Commissioner for Health also revealed that a quarantine centre has been set up at Oduoha, in Emohua Local Government Area.

According to him, “Emory hospital is the only hospital in the world that is treating Ebola.

“I went to Emory hospital and met with the management of the hospital. For your information, Lagos is handling it adhoc because they were not prepared for it so I wanted to be in the best position in case it happens here.

“Emory hospital is undisputed because they have the best facilities and the Governor, (Amaechi) sent me there to purchase whatever they are using there. Those are the ones we said we are expecting this weekend.

“In health today, no state can be compared with Rivers State; I stand tall to say it. Ask the Minister of Health.

“While the Federal Government was making phone calls to the hospital, I was there with the team they were calling.”

The Commissioner also said the strike embarked upon by Primary Health Centre workers across the state had posed a great challenge to efforts by government to check threats of Ebola virus.

Doctor Parker appealed to the House of Assembly to review the State Primary Health Care Law to address issues that led to the strike.

“I will say here that we have some challenges and will want the House of Assembly to find a way to end the strike of the medical workers.

“The Rivers state primary health board law, which was passed by this House, has not been fully implemented and because of that their salaries that are supposed to be paid have not been paid”, he appealed.

Meanwhile, the explanations made by the Commissioner for Health did not go down well with some members of the House of Assembly.

The opposing lawmakers argued that the Ministry of Health was not ready to face the challenges of Ebola outbreak in the state.

The Speaker of the House, Otelemaba Dan Amachree appealed to the Ministry of Health to step up preparations for the outbreak of Ebola virus.

The Speaker mandated the House Committee on Health to exercise its oversight function over the ministry to ensure that the right things were done.

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