“Six months before Ebola came, we had a series of presentations and conferences, and one of them was on an epidemic emergency,” he said.
The first Ebola case in Nigeria was confirmed in July this year, after Liberian Patrick Sawyer collapsed at Lagos airport, displaying symptoms of the virus. He died in hospital five days later but had already infected 19 people, of which seven died.
While most infections took place in the hours medical staff waited for l a borator y r e s ul t s , Nigeria n authorities managed to quickly regain control of the situation. Volunteers helped to track down more than 800 direct and indirect contacts with the Sawyer case, using technologies and infrastructure from the WHO and other partners to help find people and track potential chains of transmission of the virus.
The West African nation undertook strong public awareness campaigns, teamed with early engagement of traditional, religious and community leaders, developments which also played a key role in the successful containment of the outbreak.