The Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) commends the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Lagos State Government for their efforts and emergency response in containing the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in Nigeria. Addressing the epidemic in a quick, decisive, cooperative and coordinated manner is appreciated. Public communication has so far been realistic, clear, and transparent.
The fact that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the EVD outbreak in West Africa an “an international health emergency” and one of the “largest public-health emergencies in recent history” indicates the enormity of the threat from EVD.
NCS commiserates with families that have been affected and most especially, those who have lost family members as a result of the Ebola scourge. Respect and honour go to the heroes and heroines, epitomized by the late Dr. Ameyo Adadevoh, consultant physician, First Consultants, who led the frontline and paid the supreme sacrifice while working to stop the spread of the disease in Nigeria. May this nation never forget them.
To NCS, the emergence of EVD raises national health and security issues. Public health has become an integral element of any nation’s national security because it affects lives and livelihoods. Infectious diseases can cause substantial damage in terms of lives lost and socio-economic impact, just as with physical wars and military attacks. In addition to EVD containment, the response from Nigeria should encompass the proper functioning of the public health system.
With the highest professional regards, NCS recommends the purposeful development and deployment of technology to enhance the achievement of Nigeria’s health goals. In this regard, while NCS commends the use of emerging media (mobile and social networks) to spread EVD and health information awareness, NCS decries in the strongest terms the use of text messages and social media to create fear, and spread rumours and false information. Caution and deep sense of responsibilities and not stigma, should be the focus at this time. The fact that EVD is still spreading wildly in West Africa calls for continued vigilance and embrace of recommended health practices by the populace to improve the quality of detection and prevention.
Nigeria Computer Society is ready and willing at all times to partner with the Federal Government and State Governments in the innovative utilization of information technology to support and enhance the handling of the EVD threat and national health security.
God bless Nigeria.
Prof. David O. Adewumi, FNCS
President, Nigeria Computer Society