As the world fights against the scourge of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) that has plagued Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, Nigeria is finally set to join forces with the volunteer teams from other countries by deploying 250 volunteers who have been specially trained to offer vital services to contain the spread of the virus. This was made known at the formal departure programme of the 250 Nigerian volunteers held yesterday at the Eko Hotel and Suites Victoria Island, Lagos on Wednesday.
Present at the event were the Head of State, President Goodluck Jonathan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador. Aminu Bashir Wali, Supervising Minister of Health, Dr. Khaliru Alhassan and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. It was revealed that the volunteers are part of a team of a 1,000-strong health personnel force being deployed under the African Union Support to Ebola Outbreak in West Africa (ASEOWA). 250 of the volunteers have concluded their training yesterday in Lagos which is a mandatory step before they can be deployed.
The contingent will depart Nigeria on today and will undergo another round of training in their country of deployment in the neighbouring West African countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone where the disease is most prevalent. The health team consists of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other cadre of health professionals. However, President Jonathan who was represented by the Supervising Minister of Health, charged the volunteers on professionalism.
He cautioned them not to see themselves as heroes, but persons who would explore their skills to combat the disease. He reiterated Nigeria’s readiness to assist Africa and indeed the world wherever there is need to do so and thus save humanity. Also at the event, the consortium of business institutions in Nigeria, including the Africa Development Bank, donated about $34 million to help fight the Ebola virus disease. The fund came following increased calls for financial aid by the African Union to bring continued agonies arising from the disease in the West-African region to an end.