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Interview : Ebola in Nigeria Pr Folasade Ogunsola

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Published on Mar 1, 2015

Ebola Control in Nigeria, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, professor of medical microbiology at the College of Medecine, University of Lagos.
Prof. Ogunsola speaks on behalf WHO in Uganda. She was involved with the Ebola outbreak response in Nigeria. “The outbreak in Nigeria was really an outbreak of fear. More people died from the fear both in the community and amongst healthcare workers”. The strategy was to rapidly upscale what they had already on the ground and used for Polio or Guinea worm eradication.
They used the incidence manager structure. It required that they:
• had strong coordinating center
• engaged the community early
• used media effectively and sent out short and easily understandable message
• “treatments only occurred in treatment centers, not in any of the major hospitals […] so everything was concentrated in the hands of experts”
They used a lot of volunteers. “It was gratifying that people came out in droves after the initial fear”
“The fear was palpable and we had to design our messages to HCW in a way that allowed them to recognize that not working, not opening their hospitals was going to worsen the epidemic and was going to affect them more adversely”. “We used what we termed “enlightened self interest” to get them across”
The message was to tell them that, at the present moment, the epidemic was pretty much contained and only hospital-acquired, and that we could trace everybody to the index patient. The message was to prevent that the situation would get wild and that everybody would go to churches and tribal traditional healers. If that would have happened, Ebola would have come in through schools or the market and they would not be able to hold it.
“We did practical IPC […] we actually went there and showed them how to set up isolation “centers” in their hospitals”
The isolation was an isolation spot to move away patients who were suspect from other patients. They came saying that any facility could put in place an isolation area. “A chair in a corner could be an isolation as long as you cordoned it off”. In those isolation centers, it had to be a waste disposal section, disinfection and a little register with the name of any HCW that went it there. “Essentially we kept it very simple our work to the level of healthcare facility”
“Nigeria generally has a fragmented healthcare structure. Everybody came together and for the first time the academia and the established structures were used maximally.”

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