In recent times, the region of West Africa has become synonymous with the spread of the Ebola viral disease which has claimed victims in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and to a much lesser extent, Nigeria.
Even before Patrick Sawyer had gotten on a plane and flew to Lagos bringing with him the disease and infecting those who were in charge of his medical care, there was apprehension as to how Nigeria will handle the impending epidemic – in between our most times shabby preparations to prevent and handle disasters, a poor health system and the human jungle that is the crowded megacity of Lagos.
However, it has been a delightful surprise that the response to the entry of Ebola into Nigeria has been above expectations. Not only was the response from the Minister of Health swift, the manner in which the Federal Government made sure all hands were on deck in managing the health crisis is laudable – from President Goodluck Jonathan’s allocation of funds to the making sure that all agencies and ministries that had a role to play were on top of their game.
In a rare case of openness, the Health Ministry gave daily updates on the crisis, those unfortunate to have fallen victims to the disease and those who were in quarantine and under observation. Not only that, they have embarked on a massive information blitz to sensitize Nigerians on the disease which has been effective, salt water bathing fiasco notwithstanding.
Another excellent point of note is the excellent cooperation between the FG and the Lagos State Government which has been an unwilling host to the health crisis, as all the victims so far are based there. It was heartwarming to see how the political differences between the PDP-controlled FG and APC-controlled Lagos government was put aside and the two collaborated excellently.
The result of such proactive behavior and excellent cooperation has been that the spread of Ebola has been effectively clamped upon and is on its way to be completely taken care of. The doomsday conspiracies that had followed the entry of Mr. Sawyer and the virus have not come to pass, thanks goodness.
It is good that such excellent leadership that started right from the top is recognized and applauded. They have stepped to the demands of the crisis and Nigeria and Nigerians are the better for it.
It also hoped that this would provide a template for how the government should react to crises that come upon us, most notably the Boko Haram insurgency ravaging the North-East.
But in the meantime, we say “Well done, Mr. President and your cabinet. Well done to the Lagos State government. Well done to all those who have played their parts in stopping Ebola.”
We cannot thank you enough.