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Ebola: Lagos warns against stigmatization of survivors, contacts

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Lagos State Government on Tuesday warned� residents against� stigmatizing survivors of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)� or those placed under surveillance. Saying that it will not hesitate to prosecute any resident that stigmatises survivors of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease.

The state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris� gave the warning while briefing newsmen on the efforts of the government to contain the virus. He said the� government had received complaints of stigmatization from some of those who had been treated of the virus, as well as from contacts under surveillance. He said:

�The social problem being faced by discharged cases has been reported to the government. This ranges from stigmatisation, eviction from their accommodation, being asked to stay away from work and termination of employment.

We have had cases of employers just terminating the employment of their workers who were just mere contacts, not even suspected cases. We believe this is unfair and we feel this impedes on their fundamental human rights.

Now, the Ministry of Justice will take the matter up. Anybody, whether a discharged patient or a contact followed up, who feels stigmatised, can petition the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney General of Lagos State and the government will take that matter up on their behalf.”

Idris urged residents to help all cases and contacts that had been given a clean bill of health to reintegrate into the society. He continued:

�Stigmatisation will reverse the gains so far made in the containment and management of this outbreak. People who come down with Ebola may not come out and this may jeopardise not only their lives, but their family members and other people they come in contact with. That’s why it is essential that people should stop that.”

The commissioner said the two cases of stigmatisation that had been reported by survivors had been referred to the Ministry of Justice.




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