The Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, has rejected the Federal Government directive that schools to resume onSeptember 22 as against the October 13date earlier announced.
NMA National Secretary-General, Dr. Olawunmi Alayaki, said on Monday that schools ought to remain closed till all those under watch for the Ebola Virus Disease in the country have been given a clean bill of health.
“We are not happy with this decision on the resumption of schools. Schools should be shut till the last suspected case or patient is certified free of the virus,” the NMA said.
The NMA advised that the resumption of schools could be shifted till December or early part of next year because if Ebola should spread to any school, it would “assume another dimension.”
“Nigeria is peculiar because of her large population and we should be pragmatic and proactive. It will not augur well for the country if we have another outbreak due to carelessness,” said Alayaki.
Prior to NMA’s announcement of its rejection of the new resumption date, Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Sampson Parker, had disclosed that an 18 month-old baby had been quarantined in the state for showing symptoms of the deadly virus.
The Lagos State chapter of NMA also said the Federal Government should have postponed the resumption date till the completion of surveillance and monitoring of contacts in the affected states.
Its chairman, Dr. Tope Ojo, said many of the public and private schools in the country lack basic hygiene and sanitary facilities that could help prevent the spread of the disease among pupils.
“It would not have cost the Federal Government anything to have waited till those under surveillance have completed the 21 days in all the states where they are being monitored.
“The government knows that it takes a longer time for children to get used to the idea of hygiene and sanitation. They are even more vulnerable because they would play with each other whether they are sick or not.
“How many children know that they should use hand sanitisers or avoid contact with anybody that has fever?
“Waiting till October when at least the situations in Rivers and Lagos states would have been conclusively managed is another safety measure the government should have taken . These kids are not studying to get a degree, so we are sure it would not have affected schools’ curricula,” Ojo arg