Nigeria: Govt. Bars Stigmatisation of Cured Ebola Patients At Workplaces

The federal government has reiterated its commitment to ensure full compliance with Nigeria’s principle and guidelines of no stigmatisation, no discrimination and no termination of employment of workers who are survivors of the Ebola virus disease. Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, Dr. Clement Illoh, stated this at a public lecture and presentation of information, education and communication materials on keeping Ebola virus out of the workplace, organised by the ministry recently in Abuja.

According to Illoh, the measure was in compliance with the mandate of the ministry on protection of the nation’s labour force. The Permanent Secretary who commended the role of the federal ministry of health in the containment of the Ebola virus in the country, however stressed the need for continuous preventive action in view of globalisation and high mobility of world population, especially the work-force, which still creates the possibility of the outbreak of the life-threatening disease through the country’s borders and other parts of the world.

“No doubt, government has shown greater commitment to occupational safety and health, with the recruitment of more doctors, nurses, medical laboratory scientists, medical microbiologists and other medical related fields and engineers being employed to beef up its current manpower and improved health service delivery in the country,” he stated. He said the ministry was concerned about the prevalence of the disease arising out of the work-place especially among health workers, adding that the labour ministry has led the process of occupational safety and health through the provision of the National Policy on occupational safety and health “designed in line with global standards and in pursuit of Section 17(3c) of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria”.

Illoh revealed the ministry has initiated measures towards increasing its intervention in the world of work with the publication of EVD posters and hand bills to enforce the prevention of control of the disease in work-places. “You will recall that the first contact was a health worker. As this gathering is a representation of different workplaces, it is my earnest desire that the message carried in the IEC materials will be propagated in your different workplaces”, he said. He noted that government, having shown commitment towards enlightenment and support services to prevent and control the re-emergence of the Ebola disease, employers of labour and workers should also be alive to their responsibility to promote the preventive culture.

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