Lagos 19 August, 2014 - Dr. David Brett-Major of the Global Capacities Alert and Response department of the World Health Organization (WHO) that led the team of experts to successfully treat and discharge the first Nigerian Ebola Virus disease (EVD) survivor insists that usual patient care for any severely ill patient was the practice for all patients at the EVD care center.
As of 18th August 2014, Nigeria has reported 12 confirmed cases of EVD including 4 deaths. Nine of the confirmed cases were health workers who cared for the deceased case imported from Liberia. A total of 264 contacts have been registered since the onset of the outbreak of which 194 were being tracked real-time using android phones. Contacts are usually tracked for 21 days following last exposure to a person suffering from EVD.
Dr Brett-Major, who has been providing clinical care consultation in the management of suspected and confirmed EVD patients, technical advice on case finding, screening and triage, infection prevention and control (IPC) practice and other aspects of clinical management said that he is "grateful that some of the EVD patients in Nigeria have done so well’. The first confirmed EVD patient discharge occurred on 16 August, four more confirmed patients returned to their families just two days later.
The expert, since arrival in Nigeria, was instrumental to initiating care for patients in the EVD care center and also contributed to the development and distribution of the initial point of screening protocol; provision of technical advice to the case management working group on direct patient care aspects and implementation of the initial mass gatherings technical advice, while advocating for broader health-care system active case finding as well as increased preparedness by the National Government.
It is on record however that since 07 August, the first Nigerian physician, Dr Bowale, who committed to direct participation in the care team at a time when health worker panic was rife, received orientation from Dr. Brett-Major, as have increasing numbers of physicians and nurses now participating in care of patients. Support by the response team has been robust and several Nigerian, WHO and CDC personnel have been important in making care possible. An MSF team was instrumental in assisting the transfer of patients to a more conducive setting, also subsequently in providing patient care and expertise.
He said that this was "welcome progress" as early in the response, the initial absence of participating healthcare and ancillary workers "required me to conduct most aspects of triage, sampling and care of suspected and confirmed patients, under the approval and monitoring of the Mainland Hospital, Yaba, medical director and state and federal authorities. Close support by my WHO colleagues on site particularly from logistician Mr Kamal Ait-Ikhlef and others such as Dr Maurizo Barbeschi was essential."
Nursing and hygiene as well as administrative staffing however remain critical challenges at the care center.
For more information, please contact
Dr. MUSA, Emmanuel, Disease Prevention and Control (DPC) Adviser