News from the front lines of the Ebola crisis: Nigera has been declared free from the infection after an impressive display of… competence and courage.
Nigeria has been declared officially free of Ebola after six weeks with no new cases, the World Health Organization (WHO) says.
WHO representative Rui Gama Vaz, speaking in the capital Abuja, said it was a “spectacular success story”.
Nigeria won praise for its swift response after a Liberian diplomat brought the disease there in July.
Credit for this first rollback of Ebola’s spread goes to the first medical team who encountered it in the form of that Liberian diplomat, an individual who was already symptomatic when he got on the plane to Nigeria and who had to be restrained to keep him from leaving the hospital and infecting others. The medical team that treated him, including the lead physician, Ameyo Stella Adadevoh (who kept the patient isolated despite pressure from Liberian authorities), were exposed to the disease. Dr. Adadevoh later died as a result of that exposure.
The quick action of Dr. Adadevoh and her team, followed by a full on effort by the government to both educate the public, as well as discover, isolate and treat victims, made the difference. Unlike the bureaucratic wrangling that characterized the response in the UN’s World Health Organization (in part blamed on clueless political appointees in its leadership), or the fear-mongering and inept, “market” oriented, handling of the crisis here in in the U.S. (along with the willingness of some self-important individuals to break quarantine), public health agencies and staff in Nigeria demonstrated what could be done with a combination of razor-sharp competence and bold, decisive, self-sacrificing action.