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COVID-19: Udom commissions 300-bed isolation centre

Governor Udom Emmanuel has commissioned a 300-bed infectious disease treatment centre in Uruan, Akwa Ibom State as part of efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

Located within the Methodist General Hospital, Ituk Mbang, Uruan council area, it comes with a Category 3 Virology and Clinical Laboratory capable of doing a wide range of blood fat and other tests for those who have core morbidities and polymerase chain reactions with PCR machines for testing COVID-19 and HIV as well as 20 self-contained rooms for health personnel and other workers.

Inaugurating the centre, Governor Emmanuel said more medical equipment acquired by his administration would arrive the state and would soon be deployed to health facilities in the state.

He lamented that Akwa Ibom provides over 25 percent of the country’s revenue, the federal government has yet to set up any health laboratory or treatment center in the state, adding that he decided to set up a PCR laboratory to handle COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.

“We have acquired 25 additional containers of equipment to set up 2020 standard Intensive Care Units in health facilities across all senatorial districts.

“We have cleared all the equipment and they are at our warehouse. All general hospitals will be equipped to 2020 standard.

“The idea is that anywhere you are in Akwa Ibom State, you should be able to have access to 2020 medicare.”

He also announced that his administration has acquired more ambulances, “and would acquire many more to be placed at strategic locations to transport people to any general hospital so that we can be well assured of effective health care delivery.

He said the situation room set up to tackle COVID-19 will outlive the pandemic and will still be available for medical emergencies.

“Once you call any of our numbers, the ambulance should be able to take you to the nearest hospital or transport you from one facility to the other.”

He thanked the Methodist church for allowing the Government take over the management of the facility and thanked all those whose contributions have ensured the rapid transformation recorded in two years.

“Two years ago when I came here for renovation, I said that it will come to a time when 15 minutes and even one hour will be too much to travel out of this country for health care.”

He said presently, no senior citizen is able to travel outside for medical care and it would have been saddening if Akwa Ibom had not been ready for a time like this.

“There is no place like home and if you cannot develop your home, you will always have yourself to blame.”

He recalled that the World Health Organization officials who visited the state described the center as a miracle and assured that it would help the state in the battle to eradicate the pandemic.

He explained that based on the contact tracing projections in the state, he had anticipate the number of infected persons, and warned that everyone should adhere to the management guidelines of COVID19.

To accomplish his vision of a hospital in each federal constituency, the Governor explained that the remodeled Immanuel General Hospital in Eket would soon be commissioned, adding that work at the Abak and Ikot Ekpene General Hospitals have reached advanced stages while the contract has just been awarded for the General Hospital in Ikot Abasi.

He maintained that he has been able to roof Ibom Specialist Hospital provide modern medical equipment there, and is currently equipping the second floor adding that, “all we have done and are doing is in the interest of the people and I know that once I’m out of office, Akwa Ibom people will stand by those facilities to make sure they are protected and they stand functional for a very long time.”

Speaking also, the State Commissioner for Health, Dominic Ukpong maintained that despite being world class facility, it was not the wish of Government to see it filled to capacity, and advised everyone to continue to observe social distancing, personal hygiene, wearing of face mask, staying at home except when absolutely necessary to go out.

Ukpong who is the state Incident Manager said, “our Governor has shown resilience, competence, passion, involvement, financial and spiritual support.

He said the “first isolation center was built by this administration during the Lassa Fever outbreak, and the second was installed at the Ibom specialist Hospital and this facility is the third that has been established to expanded capacity.”

In a goodwill message, the Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association,NMA, Akwa Ibom State Chapter, Nsikak Nyoyoko said the center will also serve as a center for research and training in laboratory virology.

“This isolation centre is not just for treating infectious patients, but people will travel to Akwa Ibom State to carry out Virology Researches and trainings that will make our people to become world renowned. We are lucky as a people”

Nyoyoko described the project as a visionary project by a visionary leader and said the project is what health personnel had always yearned for.

The Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Aniekan Bassey said the Governor has kept his promise of making the health of Akwa Ibomites a priority.

He said the facility which is in his locality shall be of immense benefit in tackling health care needs beyond COVID 19 era.

Bassey also announced that following assessments of the achievements recorded by the Governor in the state, the House of Assembly earlier in the day passed a vote of confidence on the Governor and pledged their continuous support to the administration.

“Governor Udom Emmanuel is a leader that is working with the fear of God. With wisdom, he has taken us this far and we know that we will overcome this pandemic.

“It is his leadership style that made us do something that has not been done in AKHA for a long time, we passed a vote of confidence on the Governor”, the Speaker maintained.

On his part, the Chairman of Uruan Local Government Area, Mr. Henry Udofia thanked the Governor for bringing development projects to Uruan, adding that under his leadership, “we have been given a world class hospital in Uruan.”

Earlier, Ephraim Inyang-Eyen, the commissioner for works thanked the youths of Uruan council area for the cooperation and support while the construction work lasted.

He lauded the governor for his ingenuity, saying, with the isolation centre, the State would be ready to deal with any emergency involving coronavirus and other infectious diseases.

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