The Federal Government yesterday banned inter-state transportation of corpses in the country.
The resolution to ban movement of corpses across state boundaries was arrived at, during the Emergency National Council on Health meeting in Abuja on Monday.
The meeting, which might be a prelude to the meeting of President Goodluck Jonathan with the state governors and health commissioners today over EVD, was convened to help facilitate harmonisation of responses to contain the killer-disease.
The National Council on Health is the highest policy making body in the nation’s health sector.
Addressing a press conference on some of the resolutions of the council, Chukwu said: “State governments are to institutionalise communication strategies to ensure mass awareness creation and sensitisation for individuals and communities on EVD, and that more laboratories should be established to help manage the disease.
“Council also resolved that ideally all corpses should be accompanied with death certificates. All states are to be encouraged to have legislation to support this resolution. The corpses of all persons confirmed to have died of EVD must be buried according to standard WHO protocol.
“State governments are to institutionalise communication strategy to ensure mass awareness creation and sensitisation for individuals and communities on EVD. “Council directed that particular attention should be paid to vulnerable groups such as market women and other women groups, patent medicine vendors, road transport workers, fishermen in the riverine areas, hunters and bush meat sellers, school children, morticians and mortuary attendants, traditional healers and faith-based groups.
“Council observed that emergency operations centres remain the responsibility of the Federal Government. However, council urged states to establish communication channels as necessary that address general needs in each states/ FCT.”
The Federal Government has also banned sick people from travelling on commuter vehicles within and outside Nigeria, without doctor’s medical report.
Also, inter-state transportation of corpses has been banned by the government until further notice except with approved waivers by the Federal Ministry of Health.
The earlier declaration forbidding transportation of corpses into the country remains in force as part of measures to contain the spread of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease, EVD.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, disclosed this at a meeting with leaders of National Association of Road Transport Owners, NARTO, and the Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, in Abuja yesterday. T
he minister appealed to leaders of the groups to sensitise their members to the directives from the government to curtail the spread of EVD.
He told the associations to assist the government by redesigning their manifests to provide detailed information on passengers and easetracking of persons infected with the virus.
Still wondering why the deceased Liberian, Patrick Sawyer, who imported the disease into the country was allowed by the airline that brought him, Chukwu said: “For your member to carry any sick person, ask for doctor’s medical report. And that medical report certainly should not be more than one week old. If you look at the report and it is more than one week, tell your member, don’t accept that report because we want to be sure it is not the one that the sick person will go and cause problem for other passengers, the driver and for the conductor. We don’t want that.
“So, once people are sick, they don’t have to travel. If they have to travel because they have to be conveyed, ideally, it should be in an ambulance. But, if they can’t get an ambulance, the minimum thing is to look at the condition and reason if such thing will not affect other people in the vehicle with things like Ebola, pneumonia, and tuberculosis. Tell them they cannot travel with other passengers. They should go and make a special arrangement.
“It is better they go through the hospital so that the hospital can advise them on the transport system to use if it is an ambulance. So, the person who is sick should be told ‘don’t come to meetings, don’t come to work; go and get medical leave.’”
Chukwu also told Nigerians at the meeting yesterday to avoid handshakes to curb the spread of the viral disease and maintain effective hygiene