Kazeem Ugbodaga

The General Overseer of The Synagogue Church of All Nations, Prophet Temitope Joshua, has banned people from Ebola infected countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea from coming to his church henceforth.

He has also suspended his usual healing programmes temporarily. The ban on the foreigners is to prevent them from spreading the deadly disease to worshippers at Synagogue church located in Ikotun, Lagos, southwest Nigeria.

On Sunday top officials of the Federal and Lagos State governments visited Joshua at his church as part of efforts to collaborate with the government to ensure that the virus is not allowed into the country.

The Synagogue prophet promised to work with the government in that regard, saying that he would put some measures in place to ensure that people from the already affected countries did not enter Nigeria.

According to him, one of such measures was to visit any of the countries when necessary rather than allow their residents come into Nigeria.

Joshua also promised to suspend some of his major church healing programmes for a few weeks, adding that, “I am ready to work with you. I love my country and I will be ready to work with you. Even if it is a rumour, there is need to secure our environment to ensure that it is safe.”

Lagos Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, who led the delegation offered to work with the health team of the church in the areas of technical assistance, medical advice and training to ensure that no victim of the disease comes to the church from any of the affected countries undetected.

Idris said the delegation decided to pay the visit to the church because of the recognition that the church is an International Christian Centre whose congregation comprised people from all over the world, including the countries of the West African sub-region which had already been affected by the Ebola disease.

According to Idris, one of government’s strategy of sensitizing faith-based organizations was the need to cooperate with the government to prevent the spread of the disease in the country by educating their adherents to report health issues to medical experts.

Idris said the delegation felt that because the church had some people from the West African sub-region as members and because of the influx and population of the congregation, there might be need to check and also raise the awareness level about the disease in the church.

“We have our strategies that we intend to share with you. Again, we need to know the resources you have here because whether it is one or two cases, if they are allowed to get out, it is a major problem. We are here to work together on how to contain this disease,” he stated.

Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, Professor Abdulsalami Nasidi, said the visit was also to inform the Synagogue leader of the deadliness of the Ebola Virus and to ensure that it did not escape into the country, adding that it had become such a big problem in the sub-region that it was already affecting the economies of the countries involved.

“We are here to engage you positively. We know the powers of this House and your powers and we are duty-bound to protect you and your congregation. Governments are duty bound to make sure it doesn’t escape into Nigeria. We do not doubt the power that God has given you, we can’t do that. But we want to help and make it work stronger.

“So, our mission is to come here and work with you to explore ways to make sure that this thing does not explode,” he said, adding that the worry of government and why the Committee decided to visit the church was because the congregation comprised people from all over the world.

He particularly singled out the countries of the West African sub-Region –Liberia, Sierra-Leone and Guinea – as the greatest worry of the government at the moment because they were the countries that had already been affected by the disease.

Nasidi explained that there were experts from the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) and other international experts to give guidelines, materials and technical expertise on how to ensure that the disease does not spread into the country.

According to him, all the experts were here to work with the Committee on technical issues, saying that together, the Committee would work with the Church’s health team, “train them on how to handle this dangerous situation, pass some materials to them, share knowledge with them and, if need be, we are ready to provide some technical materials.”

He said the delegation also had health promotion materials which it would share with the church’s health team as well as “some technical underground support to assist some of your laboratories, because we know you have some, to be able to empower us to be able to diagnose this thing.”

Reiterating that the Ebola disease comes from a most deadly virus which “spreads so fast from man to man especially those who come in contact with the victims, share body fluid during treatment,” Nasidi expressed regrets that those who had come in contact with the victims in the urban areas were those providing care, either in the hospitals or in traditional homes.

He also explained that burial rites were so deadly “because unlike every other disease, Ebola transmits even from dead bodies to the living,” while citing an example of a case in Guinea where 10 out of those who participated in the burial of a family member died of the disease.

Meanwhile, a South Korean university has rescinded an invitation for three Nigerians to attend a conference and a group of South Korean medical volunteers called off a trip to West Africa amid growing concerns about the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.

The Duksung Women’s University in Seoul said in a statement the school “politely withdrew” its invitation for three Nigerian students to attend an international conference that it is co-hosting with the United Nations starting from Monday.

Fear about a possible spread of the deadly virus had prompted a student from the university to post a plea on the country’s presidential office Web site, asking for the cancellation of the entire event.

The university has said it was going ahead with the conference to be attended by students, including 28 from Africa.

Since February, more than 700 people in West Africa have died from Ebola, a hemorrhagic virus with a death rate of up to 90 percent of those infected. The fatality rate in the current epidemic is about 60 percent.

South Korea on Monday issued a special travel advisory asking people to refrain from visiting Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, while a group of South Korean medical volunteer workers scrapped an annual trip to African countries including Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana scheduled for August.

South Korean bloggers have posted online petitions, including one urging South Korean missionaries working in the region be barred from returning home. West African leaders agreed last week to take stronger measures to try to bring the worst outbreak of Ebola under control and prevent it spreading outside the region, including steps to isolate rural communities ravaged by the disease.

An American doctor stricken with the deadly Ebola virus while in Liberia and brought to the United States for treatment in a special isolation ward is improving, the top U.S. health official said on Sunday.

Gender equality and women development are becoming more important than ever in the contemporary world. Many countries have special ministries focusing on women issues to encourage women participation in all kinds of social spectrum and promote gender equality.

In this context, the UN Women and Duksung Women’s University established a partnership in 2011. The first World Congress of Global Partnership for Young Women was held in August, 2012. In the World Congress 2012, more than 400 young women from Asia and Africa participated to share their views on gender equality, women’s empowerment, and also joined various training programmes.

 Duksung Women’s University, in collaboration with UN Women is organizing the World Congress of Global Partnership for Young Women in August, 2014 in Seoul, Korea. The main theme of the World Congress 2014 is “Serving Together: Education for Empowerment of Women”.

The World Congress 2014 will provide education and training programmes for young women. The World Congress will also develop linkages for volunteer projects and internships along with external partners in the public, private sectors and NGO/INGOs.

The current issues on women volunteerism and internships will be discussed. This event will make possible to establish international networks and to encourage cooperation among young women from Asia and Africa. In order to build up women’s capacity, the World Congress will prepare for discussion on planning and budgeting, peace and security, equality, empowerment and violence against women.