Friday, 19 September 2014

EBOLA: States announce new measures in schools

Many states across the South-West zone are putting in
place new strategies to contain any outbreak of the
Ebola Virus Disease in order to meet Monday's
resumption date announced by the Federal

In Oyo State, the Commissioner for Education, Professor
Solomon Olaniyonu, said government and relevant
stakeholders had put in place mechanisms to ensure
that schools resume on Monday.
Olaniyonu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in
Ibadan that sensitisation on the disease had been
ongoing among the stakeholders.
"Oyo State schools will resume on September 22 as
promised because enough sensitisation campaigns has
been going on the disease.
"We have been meeting with all stakeholders including
principals, teachers and students," he said.
The ministry, he added, had deployed top government
officials to rural areas to sensitise residents on the
disease before resumption of schools.
He said that the Federal Ministry of Education has
requested for the number of schools so that the Federal
Government could help out with the facilities needed to
fight against Ebola.
Mr Waheed Olojede, the Executive Secretary of the
Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) in the state, however,
told NAN that schools would not resume until adequate
measures were in place.
"Until adequate measures are put in place by
government to check the spread of the dreaded Ebola
virus, no school will resume," he said.
Mrs Olufunmilayo Ojoawo, the President of the All
Nigerian Confederation of Secondary Schools Principals
(ANCOPSS) in the state, said the resumption date was a
source of concern to the body.
She also said preventive kits were yet to be put in place
in schools to check the disease.
"If an infected EVD child enters the school, it will just
spread like wildfire and this will be very bad," she said.
In Ogun, the state government said it had trained no
fewer than 12,000 teachers to handle any possible
outbreak of Ebola in schools, ahead of Monday's
resumption date.
The state Commissioner for Education, Segun Odubela,
stated this in an interview with NAN.
Odubela said that the teachers were drawn from public
and private primary and secondary schools in the state.
He added that an additional 3,000 teachers would be
trained on Thursday.
The commissioner said that the training programme was
facilitated by the state Ministry of Health and some
private medical practitioners in the state.
He added that the state had also procured preventive
and protective gadgets like hand-gloves and sanitisers
for use in the schools.
Odubela said that a special desk had been created in
the ministry with a dedicated line for issues relating to
the disease.
Mr Anthony Kansi, the Head teacher of Lawson
International Private School, said government had put in
place adequate measure to contain any outbreak.
In Akure, Ondo State, NAN investigations revealed that
teachers may resume for duty on Monday.
Mr Solomon Igbelowowa, Secretary of the Nigeria Union
of Teachers (NUT) in Ondo State, said the state
government had given an assurance that all necessary
preventive measures would be in place before Monday.
Igbelowowa said the union had met with the
government and was satisfied with the outcome of the
"Our position is clear. We want the government to
assure us that the lives of our children are not
endangered by taking precautionary measures against
outbreak of the dreaded disease in our schools.
"The Ondo State government has assured us that
sensitisation and training of teachers on prevention and
early detection of the virus would start on Thursday.
"However, I can assure you that teachers will not
resume if government reneges on its promise.
"We have no problem with September 22, we are only
concerned with the wellbeing of our children," he said.
Mr Yunus Junaid, the proprietor of Main Minaret Group
of Schools, Oba - Ile, Akure, said the school had
appointed a desk officer saddled with the responsibility
of sensitising the pupils on basic personal hygiene.
According to Junaid, the desk officer would monitor
pupils' health and report any unusual health
development to the relevant health bodies.
Similarly, Mr Lanre Alajo, the Principal of Wexford
College, Oba - Ile, Akure, said the school had complied
with government's directive to put in place all necessary
facilities to check the Ebola Virus Disease.
"We place a high premium on the wellbeing of our
pupils here.
"That is why we have engaged the service of qualified
medical personnel to screen pupils, staff and visitors
before they enter our premises, " Alajo said.
In Kwara, the state government said that it would soon
commence training of teachers to contain the disease.
Alhaji Saka Onimago, the state Commissioner for
Education and Human Capital Development, stated this
in Ilorin.
He said all schools in the 16 local government areas
would provide two teachers each to be trained on
containing an outbreak.
The commissioner stated that the exercise would
commence as soon as the Federal Ministry of Health and
Education provided the necessary materials.
Onimago, however, said all public and private schools
had been directed to resume on Monday for the First
Term of the 2014/2015 academic session.
"All schools are also directed to provide basic hygiene
materials such as soaps, washing bowl, towels and
hand sanitizers for teachers and students," he said.
In Osun State, Mr Lawrence Oyeniran, the Permanent
Secretary in the Ministry of Education, said government
had met with stakeholders on how to contain the
Oyeniran told NAN in Osogbo that the states
government had ensured that teachers and health
workers were given adequate training.
"Bearing in mind that children will be coming from
different homes, it becomes important that teachers are
given the basic knowledge on how to prevent the
outbreak of the disease.
"Apart from updating them on basic health
management issues, they will be refreshed on how to
assist students to improve on personal hygiene.
"Two health workers will be on ground in each school,
and for them to work effectively; we have bought hand
thermometers for their use.
"These thermometers will be used to check the
temperature of each student as they come into the
school to ensure that anyone who has high temperature
or signs of fever will be excused to receive medical
attention before coming to school.
"We have met with the management of private schools,
principals and health workers to sensitise them and
encourage them to be up and doing in respect of the
"Parents bringing their wards to school will be rest
assured that there will be no problem in terms of their
children contacting the virus,'' he said.
"Training was held on Wednesday at Akinorun High
School, Ikirun, Technical College, Osogbo and Baptist
High School, Ede.
"There will be another on Thursday at Oduduwa High
School, Ile-Ife, Ilesa High School, Ilesa and Iwo Baptist
High School, Iwo.
"On Friday, it will be the turn of teachers within Ife East
Area office at Modakeke High School,'' he added.
He enjoined parents not to leave the duties of ensuring
hygiene to teachers alone as their wards often spend
more time at home.
Some parents in Osogbo, however, expressed
reservations at Monday's resumption date for schools.
Some of them, who spoke to NAN, said that it was risky
for students to resume when the disease had not been
totally contained.
Mrs Anike Giwa said: "this is a matter that confuses me
most times when I think about it. Should I say schools
should not resume under the health situation we have in
the country?
"Yet we have witnessed mass failure in some of our
public examinations; if schools do not resume, how then
are we guaranteed better performance in future
"Honestly, looking at it the other way, we are talking
about students, especially the primary school pupils.
"Let us be sincere with ourselves, teachers cannot control
the spread of such a disease.
"These children play a lot, you never can tell, if you
contain them in the class, what about the toilets,
playground or even other activities?
"These children do things together and we cannot stop
"Sincerely I am confused, I cannot keep my children at
home but I am also scared to allow them to resume.''
Another respondent, Suliat Mohammed said: "even if
schools do not resume in the next 10 years, will this stop
the spread of EVD? This thing is not limited to schools
alone, it is everywhere.
"Not allowing schools to resume in good time will only
disrupt the normal school calendar and this is not good
for our children.
"I am not happy about the health challenges we are
facing as regards the EVD, in fact, I am scared but the
only thing we can do is pray to God for protection.
"So, the date of resumption declared by the government
is not bad, we all have to take a risk because these
children are doing nothing but play at home.''
The Ekiti State government, however, said schools would
not resume until all precautionary measures had been
The state's Deputy Governor, Professor Modupe
Adelabu, told NAN that the state government would not
unilaterally choose a resumption date for schools.
Adelabu, who is also the Chairman of the State
Universal Basic Education Board, said a new date for
resumption would be made public after a meeting with
all stakeholders.
"There are critical stakeholders such as parents, Nigeria
Union of Teachers, head teachers and medical personnel
and their opinions have to be considered before taking
a final decision," she said.
Adelabu said a committee set up by the government
had started making advocacy visits to create awareness
on the disease while arrangement was being made to
get necessary equipment.
She said stakeholders in the state would meet before
Friday, after which a new resumption date would be
Also speaking with NAN, the state Commissioner for
Health, Professor Olusola Fasuba, disclosed that
government had procured 1,000 test kits for teachers
and pupils in public schools.
He, however, said that owners of private schools would
be made to procure their own kits.
The commissioner said 350 units of protective equipment
as well infrared thermometers had also been procured.
The commissioner also said the state government was
set to sponsor the training of 30 health workers on a
"training the trainer'' programme.
The Chairman of the NUT in the state, Mr Samuel
Akosile, said teachers would not resume until all
preventive measures were in place.
The state Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of
Secondary Schools, Mr Sola Adigun, said the union was
waiting for government to declare a resumption date.
Plateau govt releases N95m to fight virus
PLATEAU State government has commenced sensitisation
programmes for teachers on the Ebola virus.
The state government has also released the sum of N95
million to fight the disease.
The Commissioner of Health, Dr Sati Dakwak who
disclosed this at the venue of the sensitisation workshop
in Jos said similar workshop is ongoing in the three
senatorial districts of the state.
He said the sensitisation programme which was put
together by the state Ministry of Health and SUBEB was
in preparation for the resumption of private and public
schools in the state on September 22.
Dakwak expressed determination of governor Jonah
Jang to make Plateau State a disease free state,
stressing that the dreaded Polio disease has been
eradicated in the state in the last five years.
In his address, the state Commissioner of Education, Dr
Nanle Dashe, said any child discovered manifesting the
symptoms of high fever in any school should be excuse
immediately to the hospital for proper medical attention.
Ondo ASUSS orders members to resume
THE Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools (ASUSS),
Ondo State, has expressed its readiness to resume
academic activities in line with the directive of the
Federal Government over resumption of schools across
the country.
The union in a statement by its Chairman, Dayo Adebiyi
and the Public Relations Officer (PRO), Tajudeen
Balogun, directed its members to return to school for
both administrative and academic activities on Monday,
September 22.
The union said it took the action because it was sure that
the coast was clear for both teachers and students to
return to school following the concerted effort taken to
stamp out the dreaded Ebola Virus Disease from the
ASUSS particularly noted that since Ondo State never
recorded any case of the disease coupled with the
required training on the virus, it was safe for the people
to go back to school.
The union, however, urged the state government to
ensure the completion of the training in the three
senatorial districts of the state, while necessary
materials for protection and prevention should be
The statement said the union, after considering the
assurance of the Minster of Health that there was no
case of Ebola in Nigeria again, "the national body of
ASUSS met and reviewed the whole situation and came
to the conclusion that for now, the coast is clear for all
secondary school tutors to resume.
It went further that "in order to take care of any
eventuality, state governments should as a matter of
compulsion and urgency train selected school personnel
who will be saddled with the responsibility of taking
care of any emergency case involving students or any
school staff.
"From the foregoing, secondary school tutors in Ondo
State are hereby directed to resume normal school
activities whether academic or administrative on
Monday, September 22."
Awareness messages translated into Igala native
THE ActionAid Nigeria has translated Ebola virus
awareness and preventive messages into Igala native
language and pidgin English.
The translation which was carried out in collaboration
with Kogi-based Participation Initiative for Behavioural
Change in Development (PIBCID), a Non-Governmental
Organisations (NGO), said the translated messages
were meant to ensure awareness in view of the
vulnerability of rural communities.
The Programme Manager of ActionAid Nigeria and
Executive Director, PIBCID Victor Adejoh, made this
while distributing the leaflets to community
representatives from Igalamela/Odolu and Adavi
Council areas of Kogi State in Lokoja, on Thursday.
Adejoh said the awareness campaign had been
concentrated in the urban areas noting that the rural
areas were more vulnerable.
He called for concerted awareness campaign especially
among the rural communities to curtail spread of the
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