…as Abiodun asks for FG support
By James Ogunnaike
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) after their two-day monitoring of COVID-19 intervention of the Ogun State government commended the efforts of Prince Dapo Abiodun saying the state deserves commendation for its efforts at flattening the curve of coronavirus spread.
Both organisations said they were impressed with the quality of facilities on the ground, the human capital and the willingness of the Dapo Abiodun’s government to go an extra mile at ensuring that the State does not become a safe haven the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Director-General, NCDC, Dr Chike Ihekweazu, after inspecting the first state fully funded molecular laboratory at the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital, Sagamu and the 128-bed COVID-19 Isolation and Treatment Centre at Ikenne, the 250-bed specialist hospital at Oke Mosan as well as the Infectious Diseases Hospital, Iberekodo, Abeokuta, lauded the leadership of the State in giving directions to other states on how to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
The NCDC boss said that the Centre for Disease Control is proud of what the state has been able to do and promised to work with the State Government in its quest to battle the Coronavirus pandemic.
He added that the Centre believes the State deserves to benefit from some of the most stringent support that the Centre could offer.
“I think what I have seen in Ogun today and over the past few weeks in my engagement with the Commissioner (Dr. Tomi Coker) is a willingness to go the extra mile. For us, the job is half done, so on behalf of the National Centre for Disease Control and the World Health Organisation, we are committed to supporting you. You have been on this journey longer than any other state in the country, so you deserve some of the most stringent support that we have,” he said.
Dr Ihekweazu also noted that it was a bit difficult to put a stop to social gathering because the country is a social country, urged the State Government to communicate with the people in a way that they would take ownership and responsibility for the changes in the lifestyle they will have to adopt.
“We are a social people, a social country. We love interactions, being close to each other, hugging each other, celebrating each other, our weddings, our social events, football…all these are things that define who we are and giving up on all of that for longer periods of time will come with some pain. That is really where your leadership skills will be so needed. Yourself and other leaders in the State should do more to communicate with the people in a way that they would take ownership and responsibility for the changes in the lifestyle they will have to adopt,” he said.
In her remarks, the Country Director, World Health Organisation, Dr Fiona Braka applauded the State Government for having the capacity that could take in more patients, adding that the WHO is impressed with the State Government.
“We are so much impressed and would like to congratulate Your Excellency and your team that has been working very hard. We could not join you for the launching of those isolation facilities…thank you for the invitation. But we are here to see what you have done. We leave with a positive note that there is capacity in Ogun State to take more patients, so congratulations, Ogun State,” she said.
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In his remarks, the Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun disclosed that the State is fully set to tackle the pandemic while adding that the State is set to begin the process of giving face masks to its people as soon as it receives the first batch of a million pieces.
Abiodun disclosed that the State has invested billions of naira in terms of setting up isolation centres, sensitisation, manpower development, surveillance, procuring equipment and other logistics and especially to purchase food items distributed across the state to mitigate the effects if the lockdown on its citizens.
He added that the molecular laboratories and what the WHO and NCDC team found in the State “were through self-help”. He said the state has procured equipment for a drive through testing in the local communities to ensure no stone is left unturned to curb the spread of the disease.
However, Gov Abiodun called on the Federal Government to come to the aid of his administration, so that more could be achieved.
Governor Abiodun said the lockdown has not been total in Ogun State because of the peculiar situation of the state with weaker capacity of citizens’ disposable income. Many of the residents, he said, are largely living on daily income unlike those in Lagos and the Federal Capital Territory.
“We have had to manage the delicate balance between the people’s welfare and public safety. So far, we are on top to ensure community transmission input under control”.
The governor while appreciating donors towards the COVID-19 challenge said the Federal Government Task Force need to pay more attention to Ogun as the Gateway State, nationally and internationally, to flatten the curve of the coronavirus pandemic.