In this article, we highlight some of the coronavirus-related news from the week of March 23–27, 2020.
To date, Nigeria is now having evidence of the spread of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) and its recording new cases and records keep counting. In this short feature, we provide a snapshot with brief updates from some states on how they are taking the proactive measure in other to contain spread and increase awareness of the virus.
Kwara strengthening measures, equips isolation centre
Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara State has hinted that more sweeping measures to curtail the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the state and nationwide have been taken.
He says Kwara state currently has no confirmed case of the virus but the government has set up various preventive and safety mechanisms, including establishing and equipping an isolation centre, to tackle the virus as Nigeria records more confirmed cases in at least four states and the capital city Abuja.
Abdulrazaq, who stated this recently while speaking with journalists shortly after the inspection of Kwara State Infectious Disease Centre at Sobi Specialist Hospital, Alagbado, Ilorin, posits that COVID-19 may be treated as a national security issue which requires the support and understanding of every citizen to stamp out.
According to Abdulrazaq, the newly created isolation centre would be extended in the coming weeks to accommodate around 100 patients at a go while Kwara works with Abuja on the ongoing efforts to establish zonal test centres with the capacity to screen blood samples for COVID-19.
He, however, commended the Commissioner for Health, Raji Razaq and his team for the efforts to prepare Kwara for any outbreak, saying the state is also strengthening the capacity of its personnel to deal with the emergency.
“Work is going on to extend this (isolation) centre. We are looking at extending it to accommodate about 100 patients and that should be ready in the next couple of weeks.
“At the last National Economic Council meeting in Abuja, state governors proposed that each state should have one (laboratory to test samples of patients for any outbreak of diseases).
“But there are challenges with the resources. So first of all, let’s look at having zonal centres before state centres. It is not just (about) doing an ordinary blood test. Yes, you can have the equipment but the reagents are not easy to come by.
“They are very expensive. So, we are waiting for the Federal Ministry of Health to see what they can accommodate. Right now we send blood samples to Lagos.
“We are hoping that capacity will be built by the federal government so that we can first have zonal centres before we have state centres which will surely come,” the governor said.
Speaking further, Abdulrazaq promised that “We will be announcing further measures this week in containing the spread of the virus. We also expect the federal government to come up with further measures. This may entail further restrictions on the movement of people in the interest of public health and security.
It is a national security situation now which everybody should understand. We will take more measures next week to make sure our people sit at home. The civil servants will sit at home; their children will be at home. Please take care of your kids; don’t roam about. It is also the time to clean your environment and ensure that your community is clean.”
The Governor assured the civil servants of prompt payment of salaries despite the work-from-home directive, as he thanks the traditional and religious leaders for their cooperation so far in the campaign to fight the virus.
“At present, we have no cases in Kwara. So far so good, let us keep on praying (and acting right). I will also like to use this opportunity to thank the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, for calling the (Muslim community) together and suspending Jum’ah prayers in Kwara State.
So, we thank His royal highness for being proactive. We also thank the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) for taking similar measures. We are all in this together. Everyone should please standby for further directives from the government,” Abdulrazaq added.
Raji Razaq, state Health Commissioner and the Director of Public Health Oluwatosin Fakayode had earlier taken the Governor round the newly equipped a facility designated to handle infectious diseases in the state.
The ministry of health has built the capacity of some officials to handle any case of Coronavirus while simulation/drilling exercise would begin immediately for the health officials to be on high alert, according to Fakayode.
Health workers want urgent steps taken to prevent in Akwa-Ibom
Health personnel in Akwa Ibom have called on the state government to take urgent steps including a total lockdown of the state to prevent the outbreak of COVID-19.
They are advocating the closure of entertainment and relaxation spots, as well as night clubs and bars.
In a communiqué at end of the meeting of the State Healthcare Professionals, comprising the Nigerian Medical Association, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, and the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria they called on the State Government to immediately set up surveillance screening posts at all points of entry into Akwa Ibom State with isolation centres fully equipped.
The meeting had in attendance, the leadership of the professional associations, chaired by the NMA Chairman, Nsikak Nyoyoko with Akwaowoh Akpabio of PSN, Comrade Patrick Odu, NANNM and Emilia Eliezer AMLSN, as Co-Chairs.
The medical experts expressed “shock that while passengers traveling through the Victor Attah International Airport are being subjected to screening, no screening of any kind is being conducted at our land and sea borders with Cross River State, Rivers State, Abia State, Cameroun and Equitorial Guinea where the majority of travelers pass into Akwa Ibom State.”
It advised that Civil Servants from Salary Grade Level 12 and below should be directed to stay at home except for those on essential duties.
Oyo plans 100-bed spaces in five isolation centres
Oyo State government is planning to create hundred-bed spaces for isolation of coronavirus suspects in five special centres.
The five centres are located at University College Hospital Ibadan, second Division, Nigeria Army, Odogbo, Ibadan, Jericho Chest Hospital, Ibadan, Ladoke Akintoka Teaching Hospital, Ogbomosho, and Maternity Centre, Olodo, Ibadan.
Governor Seyi Makinde who disclosed this during his inspection visit to one of the centres located at the Jericho Chest Hospital in Ibadan said the present administration remained committed to curtailing the spread of the virus in the state.
While saying the isolation centre at Jericho Chest Hospital has 10-bed spaces while University College Hospital, Ibadan and Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) centres have five-bed spaces each, the governor said that the state would have over 100-bed spaces for isolation after putting necessary facilities in place at the Maternity Centre in Olodo, Ibadan.
Conducted around the hospital, Makinde noted said his administration had released funds for procurement of necessary facilities in all the centres.
Appealing to residents of the state to remain calm, he promised that his government was on top of the situation.
Taiwo Ladipupo, a medical doctor and member of the State Covid-19 Taskforce set up by the state government, revealed that the centres had necessary facilities for quarantine of suspected cases of coronavirus.
Meanwhile, former Oyo state commissioner for Finance and Budget Bimbo Adekanmbi, through his foundation, stormed Ibadan major markets to sensitize and distribute sanitizers to market men and women in the state capital.
The sensitization and distribution were done at Bus Stop Gate, Oje Orita Aperin, Amuloko, Bere, Agbeni, Ogunpa, Dugbe, Gbagi and Ojoo
The initiative is one of the ways adopted to curb the spread of coronavirus in the state in order to prevent many lives from the deadly virus.
Akeem Ishola, coordinator of the initiative said the sensitization and distribution of the materials was a genuine concern for the health and total well being of the people.
According to him, Abimbola Adekanmbi will not relent in his effort to build a strong perspective on strengthening preventive measures and enhancing community and markets surveillance against all epidemic-prone diseases in the state”.
“There is no better time to conduct market sensitization with surveillance than a time like this; our people need education and prevention against the spread of coronavirus”.
Ishola said that we should start practicing alternative ways of greeting each other that do not involve handshakes and reduce unnecessary social and family gatherings.
“We should also be careful about the information we spread especially on social media since unverified information can lead to panic which might cause unwarranted stigmatization against health workers, people of a certain ethnicity or patients.
Ogun moves against rip-off offers free distribution of sanitisers, others
Going by the perceived rip-off and hoarding of clinical consumables used against the spread of Coronavirus such as hand gloves and sanitisers, face masks, among others, Ogun state government has produced hand sanitizers for free and massive distribution across the state.
Recall that Ogun State Executive Council being chaired by Governor Dapo Abiodun had on Monday rolled out further directives on containing the spread of COVID-19 which include restriction of movement and visits to State Government Secretariat, 20% daily attendance of workers of all cadres, 20 customers at once in banking premises, telecoms and similar service providers’ offices, supermarkets and gated markets, among others.
The Ogun state government directives also include social spacing in public transports and prohibition of overloading among the operators of commercial cabs, bicycles, buses, and tricycles within then state, just as all Government offices, banks, financial houses, supermarkets must provide hand sanitizers, hand washing equipment and wipes at the entrance of their offices, ATM points and others.
But to guard against artificial scarcity and deliberate rip-off as being experienced by the residents of the state in the hands of manufacturers, distributors and marketers of clinical consumables, the Ogun state government has begun talks with investors and manufacturers of pharmaceutical and clinical consumables based in the state with a view to producing required clinical and pharmaceutical consumables at highly subsidized rates.
This move has been kick-started by Ogun State Ministry of Health and Ogun State Hospitals Management Board by massively producing and distributing freely the hand sanitizers to residents of the state as part of measures and preparedness for containment of COVID-19 in the state and the country at large.
The Twitter handle of Ogun State Ministry of Health and State Hospitals Management Board @healthogun reads, ”As part of the Ogun State Government’s measures and preparedness for containment of #COVID-19 the Ministry of Health and Hospitals Management Board has produced “Not for Sale” Hand Sanitizers for massive distribution across the state.”