Introducing The Ebola Policy & Advocacy Series
2014 may go down in history as, amongst other things, the year Ebola ceased to be a Congo disease and became instead a global phenomenon. The disease has emphasized the fact that infectious diseases respect no boundaries and are incapable of drawing a distinction between races, or income brackets. The ways in which countries have dealt with it have, however, shown that while it can be effectively brought under control, not all countries have the capacity to do so. This is particularly evident in the countries most afflicted (currently, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone). The infectious nature of the disease, the lack of cure, the current absence of a vaccine, the ease of travel which has seen Ebola voyaging into countries it had never been experienced fuelled paranoia in nearly every parts of the world. The result has been problematic policies, lopsided media reporting, and finger-pointing and discriminatory attitudes, right alongside other more positive approaches such as development of potential vaccines and treatments, and international assistance in the areas where needed.
Under its policy and advocacy mandate, CHELD has developed the Ebola Policy and Advocacy Series (EPAS) to provide analyses and commentary on issues arising, policy interventions from across the world, and gaps in policy-making at international and national levels. The series will provide an opportunity to provide in-depth and layered analyses of the various steps and policy interventions now appearing in various countries in a bid to answer the question: Are policy interventions proving effective to address and eradicate Ebola, especially in the countries that are currently suffering the most?
The series will include commentary and analyses of matters such as law and policy reform or need in various countries; in particular, quarantine law, visa bans, clinical trials, human rights issues such as job and housing discrimination, media reporting, health systems inadequacies, human resource issues. Also including macro issues like brain drain, inadequate contributions at the international level, the importance of health literacy and effective public health interventions.
The first article in this series addresses the need to reform public health legislation in Nigeria. Written during the Ebola crisis in Nigeria, it remains relevant now that Nigeria has been declared free from Ebola. Lagos State has declared its intention to amend its public health law. This is a laudable step, and should be adopted nationally. As states in the United States battle with establishing appropriate and balanced quarantine legislation, it is clear that law and legislative reform are key components of the fight to eradicate Ebola.
We welcome relevant contributions. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also comment on the articles. If you have personal experiences, please share with us. Facebook comments and tweets should be hash-tagged #EbolaPolicyAndAdvocacySeries or #EPAS, so we can keep track of all the conversation about this. Thank you.
Dr Cheluchi Onyemelukwe
64The National Health Act has been ten years in the making, as chronicled in this Nigeria Health Watch piece written by Felix Abraham Obi. The harmonised version was passed by both the lower and upper house of the National Assembly and submitted to President Goodluck Jonathan for assent on October 28th 2014. After nearly two months of advocacy…
47“There are less than 150 psychiatrists in the country (around 1 per 1 million population) and very few neurologists., with many newly trained specialists leaving the country to work abroad. There are around 5 psychiatric nurses per 100,000 population and only very few other mental and neurological health professionals like clinical psychologists, social workers, neurophysiotherapists,…
462014 was a remarkable year in the Nigerian health sector’s history. The first positive thing that comes to the minds of most people is the effective containment of the Ebola Virus Disease, which still inspires instinctive gratitude and laudatory comments. The heroism of Dr Stella Adadevoh will not easily be forgotten nor will government action…
45On this week’s #EbolaPolicyAdvocacySeries, Dr. Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia calls for the urgent need to transform Nigeria’s public health law. WHO’s certification need not make Nigeria and Nigerians complacent, to develop a “no longer our problem” attitude we are pretty skilled in, eager to move on the other next sensation. We are not out of the wood…
42Introduction The increasing fanciful terms used to describe the state of maternal health in Nigeria has and should become a cause of urgent concern for policy makers, stakeholders and other persons interested in the health, wellbeing and image of the most populous country in Africa. At a Millenium Summit held in New York, World Leaders…