Published On: Sun, Dec 14th, 2014

Ebola: Basic hygiene to contain virus dumped in some states- report

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From Osa Eresoyen, Asaba

The declaration of Nigeria as an Ebola-free country by the World Health Organization (WHO) in October has given many Nigerians the laxity to discontinue the practice of maintaining a good level of hygiene as a measure to curtail the spread of Ebola Virus.

From schools to banks and other public places, the strict measures to screen for signs of the disease put in place while the outbreak lasted between July and October, have fizzled out in most places. Most

Nigerians are now living a care- free life because, according to them, Nigeria has been certified Ebola-free by the WHO, as such there is no cause for alarm.

Our investigation revealed that many corporate organizations including banks, hotels, as well as schools In Delta and Edo states have now relaxed in checking for Ebola, via the use of sanitizers and hand-washing, many people are now indifferent to keeping good hygiene because there is no Ebola case in the country and as such, it is a license to live freely without fear of contacting the disease, forgetting that Nigeria can only account for those cases of Ebola that were reported in the Hospital.

A visit revealed that many banks and schools no longer scan customers before entry, just as visitors to the premises are no longer compelled to use soap or sanitisers placed at the entrance, as was the case some months ago. A banker, who works with one of the new-generation banks in Benin, Edo State, said that it is only the hand sanitisers that are still in vogue.

Although some schools still do the temperature checks using the infrared thermometers, the mandatory hand-washing has apparently been jettisoned. Even in markets, the precautionary measures are now dwindling, as people now work without any form of caution on the disease.

In a survey carried out by our correspondent, a businessman in Asaba,  Delta state capital (name withheld) said, “this Ebola issue has really disturbed my business and now that Nigeria has been declared Ebola free by the United Nations (UN) I don’t want to hear anything about it. And now that Ebola is dead and buried in Nigeria, I am ready to regain all the money I have lost”.

A trader, Mrs. Elizabeth Oliwe, who sells cloth in Ogbe-ogonogo market said customers patronage has increased drastically now without fear, compared to when the disease was in full blast.

Speaking in the same vein, a bush meat seller in Abraka Mr. Henry Okoro said, “during the period the Ebola Virus was In Nigeria, people automatically stopped buying bush meat; as a result I was out of business, but as soon any customers heard that Nigeria had been cleared of the disease, they started calling to know when I will open my shop, and since I resumed the sale of bush meat the returns have been wonderful.”

Also, a customer, who does not want his name in print, said, he has really missed eating monkey and that God should bless the WHO for declaring Nigeria Ebola-free”.

Also, speaking with a Pharmacist in Asaba (name withheld), he said, since Nigeria has been declared Ebola-free, people have stopped buying and sanitizers because of the declaration and this is affecting the sale of sanitizers and the health of Nigerians since people no longer take preventive measures seriously.

According to him, “before Nigeria was cleared I bought about six cartons of sanitizers because the sale was booming, but as soon as people heard of the report most of our customers stopped buying sanitizers; and as am talking to you now, I have only been able to sell one carton of the product compared to when Ebola was In full blast”, he said.

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