The Immediate past Chief Medical Director of Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Professor Akin Osibogun, has attributed successes recorded by the country against the spread of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) to the relatively functional health facilities in the country. He stated: “The presence of a relatively functional health infrastructure in Lagos and Rivers states significantly contributed to our ability to contain the Ebola Virus Disease within three months after its importation into the country in July 2014”.
Osibogun, who stated this while delivering a paper titled, “Emerging and Re-Emerging Diseases – Stopping the Spread” at the 2014 Health Week organised by the University of Lagos (UNILAG) at the Main Auditorium of the institution, said while such relatively functional facilities worked out for Nigeria, the reverse was the case for other countries in the West African Sub-region. where the disease wreaked havoc on the citizens.
“One major defining feature of the protracted Ebola Epidemic in Liberia, Sierra-Leone and Guinea is the collapsed public health infrastructure in those countries. This made it difficult for the epidemic that was reported since March 2014 to have remained out of control in those countries until external help poured into those countries,” he added. Stressing the need for improved public health facilities and infrastructure, the professor of Community Health and Consultant, Public Health Physician /Epidemiologist at LUTH urged governments to provide rapid response to emerging infectious diseases using a multiplicity of strategies.
On the contributory factors to the emergence of diseases and re-emergence, the guest speaker listed microbial adaptation, human susceptibility at the extreme of old age and presence of some other chronic diseases, saying that climate change leading to increasing temperature may also make it possible for certain vectors that hitherto could not survive in a particular geographic area to now survive and facilitate the transmission of diseases. He also listed changing ecosystem, human demographics and behaviour, economic development and land use, international travel and commerce, and lack of political will as some of the causes.