Fear yesterday gripped residents of Asaba, the Delta State capital over the news that a patient suspected to have contracted the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) was reportedly admitted at the hospital.
Meanwhile , Management of the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Asaba has cordoned-off the emergency ward of the hospital to prevent flow of human traffick in and out of the area , heightening suspicions that an Ebola infected patient was in the hospital .
Besides, the ward was earlier fumigated before the authorities ordered that it should be cordoned-off to prevent anybody from going into the ward.
The patient, it was gathered, was taken to an isolated ward after she was said to have manifested some symptoms of the disease at the emergency ward where she was rushed to on Thursday.
Medical Director of the hospital, Dr. Leo Erhunmwunse had said the patient was stooling and vomiting, two of the symptoms of the contagious disease, adding that it was yet to be confirmed.
“A patient who was stooling and vomiting was actually brought to the hospital today (Thursday), symptoms of Ebola but we need to confirm if she is suffering from the disease.
We need to carry out series of test to verify if he has the virus or not. People should not panic. The situation is under control,” he assured
Meanwhile, Delta State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Joseph Otumara has confirmed that the blood sample of the patient has been taken to Lagos for analysis to determine if she was Ebola positive.
But since the news about the suspected Ebola patient broke out at the state capital, residents have been scared of going to the hospital for medical attention for fear of contracting the deadly disease.
THISDAY checks at the hospital revealed that wards were almost empty while some health workers were seen milling around, an indication that activities were yet to pick-up following the suspension of the strike by the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA).
The state information Commissioner Mr. Chike Ogeah in a swift reaction said, “The attention of the Delta State Government has been drawn to a story making the rounds that a patient purportedly suffering from Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) died at Eku Specialist Hospital, Eku on Friday, September 4, 2014".
“This story is completely false. The true situation is that a diabetic woman who had earlier been undergoing treatment at Eku Specialist Hospital returned from a visit to Port Harcourt and reported at the hospital where she unfortunately died.
“As a patient with a history of diabetes at the hospital, her status was well known. However, it emerged that she was a victim of unusual salt intake as a result of the large quantity of salt she consumed when people were falsely led to believe that drinking salt solutions would stave off Ebola Virus Disease.
“At no time did the patient manifest any Ebola symptom nor was she known to have had any contact with an EVD patient.
“The Delta State Government hereby assures all residents that there is no Ebola patient in the state. All stories about an EVD patient or death in any hospital in Delta State should be disregarded as mere rumours from uninformed people.
“We hereby declare emphatically that there is no Ebola outbreak in Delta State. All residents should go about their normal duties without any fear. However, we urge everybody to remain vigilant.”
Caption; MD , FERMA, Mr. Gabriel Amuchi
Why Potholes Still Persist on Federal Highways, Says FERMA Boss
Although the Managing Director of Federal Roads Maintenance Agency, FERMA, Mr. Gabriel Amuchi, had declared zero-pothole last year, he has attributed their persistence to the rainy season.
Acknowledging, however, that it was almost impossible not to have potholes at all, he ordered a daily patching of potholes that dot the Abuja-Kaduna expressway, the rains notwithstanding.
Amuchi gave the charge during a visit to the wash-out that occurred on the Eastern bypass in Kaduna and other projects in the State.
On constant mending of roads, he said since the small manual patchers available at the Kaduna station of the agency were capable of fixing up to 20 small potholes a day, they should be used regularly to close small isolated openings on the highway before they developed into big ones.
Amuchi however directed that the big motorised patcher should always be deployed to fix large potholes on the road.
He told his officials to use small sums of money to do the direct intervention on the state of the roads instead of waiting to get approvals for bigger sums of money.
On the washout on the eastern by-pass in Kaduna, where an eight-year old lost her life, the FERMA boss denied any delay by his agency in intervening in fixing the washout.
He explained, "There are existing multiple-cell culverts in two locations. And following the effect of excessive rain and flood, the extension of the culvert caved in. So, we are here to intervene to reinstate that failure and properly channel the flood and work with the state government to make the flood plain and the low land free of occupation."
He stated that his visit was to inspect the work done by FERMA to reinstate the collapsed culvert and make it functional once more.
He also denied that it was a bridge collapse, explaining that it was rather a culvert that caved in. "And the collapse of this three-cell culvert took place progressively because there was gradual spoiling and until it occurred, and reflected on the shoulder, it was not evident.
"And now that it has reflected on the shoulder, the carriage way is still functional; we are intervening at the appropriate time.
"And we are assuring you that in no distant time, the repair will be done. When it occurred, the team of FERMA and the ministry of works attended to it to open up the channel properly.
So what FERMA has been doing is monitoring and making a design that would be durable."
Amuchi assured that the extension would not take more than a month to complete.
On the cost of repairing the portion, he said: "Because this is an emergency intervention, the estimates are on-going but the work is progressing and by the time we come back here at the completion, we will be able to give you the definite cost."
Representative of the Kaduna State Commissioner of Works, Mohammed Badamusi Ibrahim, the director of civil engineering, said both the Commissioner and the governor had seen the incident and were concerned.
"I assure you that the state government is taking appropriate actions so that at the end of it, after the culvert has been reinstated, the state government must ensure that the plain is free (of occupation)."
The FERMA boss visited other ongoing projects, including a washout on the Kaduna-Zaria road, the completed 24km overlay of the Nnamdi Azikiwe road on Western bypass, Kaduna, along with the street lights stretching 10km.
During the inspection tour of the trailer park at Mararaban-Jos, Alhaji Babangida Jaafaru, Secretary, Kaduna State branch of National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), told him of the rising incidence of robbers hijacking petroleum tankers, stealing products and setting the trucks ablaze.
"You know we are witnessing truck hijack. They will hijack our truck, take the product and set the truck ablaze and that is one of the worries and that is why they are parking inside", he said.
He said that although his association had requested for security, they were yet to get it.
Amuchi fixed a meeting for Wednesday to find a lasting solution to the problem.