The senate has asked Isaac Adeowole, minister of health, to get emergency vaccines in the event of a case of Ebola in the country.
The resolution of the upper legislative chamber was sequel to a motion sponsored by Oluremi Tinubu, senator representing Lagos central.
Moving the motion on the floor of the senate on Tuesday, Tinubu cited a report that of the World Health Organisation (WHO) which said “Nigeria and other African countries are at modest risk of spread.”
“The senate recalls with great distress that an infected immigrant who arrived Nigeria on the 23rd of July was the index case of the ebola virus in Nigeria. With varying symptoms ranging from fever to diarrhoea, there were a total of 869 contacts and 20 laboratory confirmed cases were recorded,” she said.
“The senate is be reminded that the tide was stemmed by quick response of the Nigerian government vid declaration of emergency, collaboration of federal and states ministries of health, use of incidence management approach, identification and follow up contacts.
“In spite of quick measures taken, the epidemic claimed eight lives including those of medical personnel who put their lives at risk to contain the disease.
“Recent reports of media outlets and the World Health Organisation show that the disease is back in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo with 19 dead and 39 casualties recorded so far. The DRC, 445 kilometres by air from Abuja, is easily accessible via a flight from Lagos that takes less than three hours.
“Unless we prepare our hospitals properly equipped with the ebola vaccine where necessary, this is an epidemic we might be unable to take up and will only cause untold hardship.”
The senator said if nothing is done given the country’s population “we may well be on our way to creating a global situation.”
The motion was adopted by the upper legislative chamber after it was put to a voice vote by Senate President Bukola Saraki.
Last week, the federal government directed the ministry of health to step up surveillance at all entry points in the country to prevent the return of Ebola.