The Nigerian Medical Association, NMA,
yesterday faulted the Federal Governmentâ€™s
directive to schools to resume on September
22 as against October 12.
Students on the assembly
Speaking through its National Secretary-
General, Dr. Olawunmi Alayaki, the association
said, â€œWe are not happy with this decision on
the resumption of schools. Schools should be
shut till the last suspected case or patient is
certified free of the virus.â€
According to the NMA, the resumption of
schools could be shifted till December or early
part of next year because if Ebola should
spread to any school, it would â€œassume another
While urging parents not to be in a hurry to
have their children back to school since
children cannot survive isolation like adults, the
association noted that, â€œwe can shift the
resumption date till next year or in the next
three months if that is the time it will take.
Government should have enough time to
follow the standard procedure for containing
â€œNigeria is peculiar because of her large
population and we should be pragmatic and
proactive. It will not augur well for the country
if we have another outbreak due to
Speaking in the same vein, the Lagos State
chapter of the NMA said that the Federal
Government should have postponed the
resumption date till the completion of
surveillance and monitoring of contacts in the
Chairman of the Lagos state chapter of the
association, Dr. Tope Ojo, who observed that
many of the public and private schools in the
country lacked basic hygiene and sanitary
facilities that could help prevent the spread of
the EVD by pupils, said: â€œIt would not have cost
the Federal Government anything to have
waited till those under surveillance have
completed the 21 days in all the states where
they are being monitored.
â€œThe government knows that it takes a longer
time for children to get used to the idea of
hygiene and sanitation. They are even more
vulnerable because they would play with each
other whether they are sick or not.
â€œHow many children know that they should use
hand sanitizers or avoid contact with anybody
that has fever?
â€œWaiting till October when at least the
situations in Rivers and Lagos states would have
been conclusively managed is another safety
measure the government should have taken.
These kids are not studying to get a degree, so
we are sure it would not have affected schoolsâ€™
curricula,â€ he pointed out.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Health, Prof.
Onyebuchi Chukwu, while speaking with PUNCH
in Lagos, said there was nothing to fear over
the federal governmentâ€™s directive to schools
to resume on September 22, noting that, â€œWe
have contained the situation. Ebola is no longer
in the streets anywhere in Nigeria.
â€œWe are working with the Federal Ministry of
Education and we made it clear that in
institutions having students returning from
outside Nigeria, they should let us know.
He said, â€œWe will work with them and we have
questionnaires which we are already using on
airlines and ships coming into Nigeria as well as
other means of transport. They will fill
questionnaires. We will ask questions and
conduct tests to see that they donâ€™t have fever.â€