Abuja 20 October, 2014 - The World Health Organization, today, 20th October, 2014 officially declared Nigeria Ebola-Free, having passed the mandatory period with no new cases; 42 days after the last confirmed case of the virus was discharged from the hospital, giving sufficient confidence to declare the outbreak over.
The WHO Country Representative (WR), Dr. Rui Gama Vaz made the formal announcement at a Media Briefing organized by the Federal Ministry of Health, in Abuja, saying that, Nigeria ‘is now Ebola Free’ adding that “it shows that Ebola can be contained, but we must be clear that we have only won a battle, the war will only end when West Africa and other affected countries are also declared free of Ebola."
The WR, on behalf of the WHO Director General, Dr. Margaret Chan and Dr. Luis Gomes Sambo, the Regional Director for Africa, congratulated the government and the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Developmental partners that made it possible to contain the outbreak in Nigeria.
He observed that “as the most populous country in Africa and its newest economic powerhouse, Nigeria stands at a high risk for the spread of the Ebola virus disease”. He further pointed out that “the number of people living in Lagos alone, is almost as large as the population of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra-Leone combined”.
In his speech the out-going Minister of Health, Professor C.O Onyebuchi Chukwu thanked the WHO for leading other partners to support the Nigerian government in Ebola outbreak response.
Professor Chukwu who noted with pride that the celebration of an Ebola-free Nigeria was achieved through indigenous resources, underscored the value of partnership but cautioned against stigmatization of victims, institutions and countries associated with the EVD.
Equally, the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku in his contribution, stated that the first incursion of the virus in the country through a Liberian brought out the patriotism in Nigerians to fight a common cause. He however reserved special tribute to WHO in Nigeria and the Nigerian Media for the awareness created which he noted, was unprecedented.
Stakeholders, Development Partners and the Private sector represented by the National Primary Health Care Agency, CDC and Dangote Foundation respectively, presented separate goodwill messages at the occasion.
With the Declaration, Nigeria receives a clean bill of health to join Senegal as the only countries to have successfully contained the Ebola virus disease currently ravaging the sub-region.