Saturday, August 30, 2014

Ebola : school owners ; FG on collision course

Ebola: School Owners, FG On Collision Course by Ktwice ( m ): 8:06am
Private school owners in Lagos State
and the Federal Government may
clash over the latter's order directing
all primary and secondary schools in
the country to resume on October 13,
2014, instead of the anticipated
September 15.
The school owners, under the umbrella
of the National Association of
Proprietors of Private Schools, believe
that the directive is unnecessary and
should not be considered as part of the
measures to prevent the spread of
Ebola virus in the country.
They expressed their feeling at a
sensitisation programme on Ebola
held on Thursday at Victory Grammar
School, Ikeja, Lagos.
The Minister of Education, Mallam
Ibrahim Shekarau, had announced the
resumption date after a meeting with
the 36 state commissioners of
education on Tuesday in Abuja
But speaking at the sensitisation
programme, the Lagos State President
of the National Association of
Proprietors of Private Schools, Mr.
Yomi Otubela, said, "We have sent our
appeal to the Federal Government
through the Lagos State Special
Adviser on Public Health informing it
that if religious organisations and
other places are left open, these
children could as well contract the
virus there.
"If markets that have more crowd than
what we have in schools are not
asked to close down, then we wonder
why the government will not allow us
put preventive measures in place and
allow these children return to school.
School is supposed to be a place of
knowledge and we are to educate and
expose them to the knowledge on
what they need to know to prevent the
spread of the virus, not keeping them
out of schools and keeping them
ignorant of what is happening."
But the Special Adviser to the Lagos
State Government on Public Health,
Dr. Yewande Adeshina, disagreed with
the school owners, asking them to
abide by the Federal Government's
She also asked them not to place
priority on their financial wellbeing
over the physical wellbeing of the
school children.
The founder of Supreme Educational
Foundation Schools, Mrs. Adenike
Adamolekun, also said the directive by
the Federal Government was
She said, "Just as we are praising the
Federal Government for being
proactive in containing the Ebola virus,
we are also condemning them on this
one. It does not make sense at all.
Even if they had any doubt, what they
needed to have done was to have put
together some precautions and extend
it to all schools, ensuring that all
schools abide by them.
"Shutting the schools for a whole
month, considering the fact they will be
shut down next year again because of
elections, is a bad idea. Moreover,
parents do not know what to do with
those kids. I think this is an
unnecessary approach to the issue."
A school proprietress, Dr. Maggie Ibru,
stated that what the Federal
Government could have done was to
provide hand sanitisers in all private
and public schools in the country.
She said it was in the capability of the
Federal Government to provide hand
sanitisers and increase the level of
sanitisation in all schools in the
She said, "No, the Federal Government
got it wrong on this one because this
will not stop the students from
participating in international
examinations. What the government
should have done is to supply all
schools with hand sanitisers, both
private and public, because who attend
the private schools too are Nigerians.
"They should allow the children to go
back to school. What to do is simple:
the Federal Government could have
increased the sensitisation level on
Ebola prevention in our schools and if
possible, give a directive to all schools
not to allow guests enter their
premises, or rather mandate every
child and visitor be subjected to a test
before entering the school premises.
These are the measures that the
Federal Government should have
Meanwhile, inadequate test and
treatment centres for the Ebola Virus
Disease has been identified as one of
the greatest challenges threatening the
government's efforts to contain the
spread of the deadly virus.
Though four test centres have been set
up in the Lagos University Teaching
Hospital; Centre for Disease Control in
Asokoro, Abuja; University College
Hospital, Ibadan; and the Redeemers
University Laboratory, Kilometer 35
Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, doctors,
who spoke with Saturday PUNCH,
flayed the government over what they
called inadequate test and treatment
centres in the country.
They said that adequate test and
treatment centres are very important
to the management of Ebola outbreak
among other measures such as
sufficient isolation facilities and
protective kits for medical personnel.
According to them, it is unheard of for
a country of over 160 million people to
rely on four test centres at a time it is
faced with a deadly disease that has,
in the World Health Organisation's
estimation, killed 1,552 people in West
The Ebola Virus Disease was on July
24, 2014 imported to Nigeria by a 40-
year-old Liberian-Ame

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