Annals of African Medicine
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 7-13

Gender dimensions to the Ebola outbreak in Nigeria


1 Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program, 50 Haile Sellasie Street, Asokoro, Abuja; Department of Epidemiology and Medical Statistics, Faculty of Public Health, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria
2 Department of Epidemiology and Medical Statistics, Faculty of Public Health, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria
3 Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program, 50 Haile Sellasie Street, Asokoro, Abuja, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Olufunmilayo I Fawole
Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme, Abuja
Nigeria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1596-3519.172554

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Background: An outbreak of Ebola disease was declared in Lagos, South West Nigeria, on 23rd July 2014. Later, the outbreak spread to the south south and south eastern part of the country. The last cases occurred on August 31, 2014 and the country was certified to be Ebola free on 20th October, 2014. This paper describes the experiences and implications of the Ebola outbreak for Nigerian women. Subjects and Methods: Identification and listing of cases and contacts was done in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Enugu. Socio demographic information was collected. Results: Women made up 55% of Ebola cases and 56.6% of contacts traced. Of the 8 deaths reported 50.0% (4) were women, of which 75.0% (3) were health care providers. The sex specific case attack and fatality rates for males and females were 2.2% versus 2.3% and 45.5% versus 33.3% respectively. The women restricted their movement in order to avoid the infection. The outbreak affected their utilisation of health care services and livelihood. Conclusion: Women were exposed occupationally and domestically due to their care giving roles. In health facilities, they were directly involved in the care or encountered persons who had been in contact with persons with Ebola. In the homes, they were at the forefront of nursing the sick. There is the need to ensure women have access to information, services and personal protective equipment to enable them protect themselves from infection. Education and engagement of women is crucial to protect women from infection and for prompt outbreak containment.


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