FG will not join issues with APC over Ebola – Health Minister

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The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, on Thursday said the Federal Government would not join issues with the All Progressives Congress (APC) over its achievement in the containment of Ebola in the country.

The minister said this while fielding questions from newsmen after the opening of the experts meeting on Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) held in Abuja.

The minister said he would not respond to comments attributed to the APC on the Ebola matter, stressing that Ebola was not a political issue and should be separated from the politics.

While saying that team work was key to the effective containment of the virus, Chukwu noted that the federal government provided the required leadership that led to the feat

“There is no doubt that the story of Nigeria’s successful containment of Ebola can be attributed to team work in addition to other factors.

“The leadership role played by President Jonathan in the entire event remains key to whatever Nigeria did to contain the spread of the virus.

“I have emphasised this several times and as I congratulate Mr President so I also congratulate the various state governments.

“The PDP has its own medium of responding to APC, so I cannot join issues with them, Ebola is not a political issue that is why all experts in the sector came together in the wake of the outbreak in Nigeria,” he said.

On the stakeholders meeting, Chukuw said it was not only timely but key to Nigeria’s revival of its research sub-sector.

He said the country could no longer depend on ad hoc arrangements to do research for the purpose of improving its health systems.

“Research is key to the development of medicine and its branches, it is what insurance is to an economy, we must begin to nurture a culture of research upon which our systems would grow,” he said.

On his part, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa, said the National Assembly would contribute its quota to building a foundation for a stronger health system.

He said the two chambers of the National Assembly were working on repealing the now obsolete Quarantine Act of 1926, stating that in a short time the act would no longer exist.

Okowa said provisions of the act had been over taken by time, events and emerging health challenges facing Nigerians.

He said that areas of the existing laws that bother on functions of port health officers had been incorporated into the public health act as passed by the legislature.

Okowa pledged the support of the National Assembly to the Treatment Research Group, stating that the objectives sought by the group have been long overdue in the country’s drive for a better health care delivery system.

Earlier, the co-chair of the group, Prof. Innocent Ujah, said experts attending the meeting would screen and verify claims for EVD treatment and management, among other issues slated for deliberation.

He said resolutions reached at the end of the meeting would form part of the basis of a national plan for Ebola and other emerging diseases.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that representatives of development partners, government agencies and key players in the health sector delivered good will messages at the opening session of the meeting.

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