Governors set up infection control centres to support health workers

Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Fred Ezeh, Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja, Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin, Fred Itua, Abuja and Doris Obinna

The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) said it would set up centres to support health workers in states to curtail the spread of COVID-19.

The governors stated this after their fifth meeting held via teleconference to discuss ways of tackling the impact of COVID-19.

In a communique by Chairman of the NGF and Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, the governors said infection prevention and control committees would be set up in states to support health workers, who were at the frontline of the fights against the pandemic.

The governors said they were working to improve their logistical and operational efficiency for sample collection and care.

“Most states have established COVID-19 hotlines and will ensure that emergency services are integrated into the operations of their Task Force on COVID-19,” Fayemi said.

Following a briefing from the Nigerian Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID)  led by Aliko Dangote and Herbert Nwigwe and Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, on the delivery of healthcare equipment and distribution of palliatives to the most vulnerable persons across states, the governors commended the group for their commitment and collaboration on the COVID-19 response.

The governors said they recognised the importance of ensuring the continuous existence of businesses during the lockdown and would  take necessary measures to support same.

Be vigilant, FG charges Lagos, Ogun, other border states

The Federal Government has charged governments of Lagos, Ogun and 15 other states sharing borders with Nigeria’s neighbours to be vigilant to prevent illegal migrants from entering the country as a preventive measure against possible Coronavirus carriers from entering into the country.

Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, a member of the Presidential Taskforce of Coronavirus (COVID-19), said those border states have a lot of roles to play in the fight against Coronavirus so as not the reverse efforts and gains made in the war.

“Let me seize this opportunity to admonish Nigerians that are living in our border communities in the states sharing borders with our west and Central African neighbours and these states are Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Kwara, Niger, Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Jigawa, Yobe, Borno, Adamawa, Taraba, Benue, Cross River and Akwa-Ibom. These are the states resenting Nigeria from our neighbours in the west to the north and east.

“I am seizing this opportunity to admonish them to promptly report any illegal entry of anybody across our borders and alert the officers and men of the Nigerian Immigration Service.

“It is in our collective interest to prevent opportunistic entry of COVID-19 into Nigeria by any means. We, as a people and a nation, have sacrificed a lot of our time, energy, resources and wealth as a people and as a nation that is ready to take the maximum of gains that we are making in the containment of this virus by being alert to any movement at all across our borders by anybody except our own citizens who even as well must report to officers and men of the Nigerian Immigration Service.

“These gains come at a very high price; it’s taking tolls on our economy, it’s taken tolls on our spiritual lives, it’s taking tolls on our social lives. So, we must, therefore, not take it for granted. We must support the government to keep our borders secured against the virus.”

Health workers placed on alert

As the country enters the critical phase of community transmission of COVID-19, Federal Government has placed health workers on red alert.

Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, made the disclosure in a tweet, yesterday.

“Community transmission marks evolution of our initial containment strategy to detect early, test and isolate. To this end, health workers should be on alert and safely refer patients,” he said.

He reconfirmed that the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital (UATH), Gwagwalada, Abuja, and National Hospital, Abuja, are the three designated isolation facilities in Abuja.

“Nigerians are encouraged to report to these accredited centres for best chances of survival and recovery. They should also trust scientifically proven advisories and ignore fake news. Together, we shall get control of COVID-19,” he added.

He also said relevant officials of the Federal Ministry of Health have commenced virtual meetings and learning from Chinese doctors who are currently on the mandatory 14 days isolation.

Chinese construction firm, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), had facilitated the arrival of 15 Chinese healthcare officials comprising medical doctors, nurses and other health care professionals last week to assist Nigeria fight coronavirus.

Ehanire, in a tweet, yesterday, said: “We have commenced virtual interactions and learning on COVID-19 from the CCECC-sponsored medical experts that recently arrived Nigeria to help contain the spread of COVlD-l9. We are grateful to Nigerian government and US-CDC for their support. We also thank the Medical and Dental Consultants  Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) for their support and pledge to position medical and critical care specialists.”

Ebute, ex-Senate president wants travellers from Lagos, Abuja quarantined

Ex-Senate President, Ameh Ebute, has raised the alarm over the possible influx of COVID-19 patients into villages from major cities, particularly Lagos and Abuja.

He said some people were escaping from the lockdown in Abuja and Lagos to villages with no one sure of their COVID-19 status, fearing the act posed  great danger to efforts  to combat the pandemic by the federal and state governments.

Ebute in an interview with Daily Sun, said: “I have two cases in my family. One came from Lagos, another came from Abuja,and they just came and entered the room.

“Automatically, when there is a case of anybody returning from Lagos and Abuja, they should be quarantined for 14 days. So, if this trend is not checked, it means that very soon, the infection will shift from the city to villages; in the villages, there is no facility for testing, no hospital to take care of infected people. So, the cases will be worse, God forbid, if it surfaces in the village.”

Ebute alleged that  the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) was not doing enough to curb the spread of the virus  in spite of the donation  by spirited individuals.

He called on the government to act fast, saying considering the vulnerability of villages, which are without the necessary facilities to handle COVID-19,  the development portends great danger for the country.

UBTH CMD expresses fear over soaring number of cases

Chief Medical Director of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Prof. Darlington Obaseki, has expressed fear that containing the disease in Edo State might become difficult if the number of cases continued to soar.

Obaseki, who made  this known in an a media interview in Benin, said in anticipation of COVID-19 patients, the management of the Hospital had repurposed, re-structured, equipped and activated a 10-bedded isolation centre ahead of the first case to be admitted.

He said the hospital was functioning actively and striving for expanded services in the event of more cases of COVID-19 requiring admission.

“The UBTH Isolation Centre operates with the full complement of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other personnel needed to provide care. The  centre is supported by a dedicated two-bedded Intensive Care Unit, equipped with two ventilators for the management of COVID-19 patients in need of critical care.”

Coalition faults N’Assembly members on SIP

The Save the Poor Coalition has faulted the position of the leadership of the National Assembly and some members that the implementation of the Social Investment Programme (SIP) of President Muhammadu Buhari-led Administration is not all-inclusive.

National coordinator of the coalition, Emeka Enechi and secretary, Adamu Maikasuwa, in a statement, said the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouk, had initiated steps to improve on the National Social Register of poor and vulnerable households.

Enechi said rather than fault the Minister’s efforts, members of the National Assembly should support her in meeting the yearnings of Nigerians.

“The distribution of cash transfer register is neither a fabrication nor a fraud; albeit as stated earlier, Hajia Farouk did not mince words in talking of challenges in addressing and making comprehensive the National Social Register.

“Our understanding is that she has commissioned professionals to update the National Social Register she met on ground, and because of the urgency of the COVID-19 crisis she cannot throw the current register away,” the group said.

Dangote-led flood committee donates N1.5bn

The Presidential Flood Relief and Rehabilitation Committee, set up in 2012 by the Federal Government and led the President of Dangote group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has donated N1.5 billion to support efforts to  curtail the spread of coronavirus.

Announcing the donation after an emergency meeting, Dangote said it had become imperative for well-meaning Nigerians to make the sacrifice to help the federal government in fighting the virus.

“The reality of the pandemic has set in now in Nigeria, and all hands must be on deck to save our country from its attendant crisis. So far, so good, we need to sustain the momentum and ensure that we curtail the spread,” Dangote said.

The mandate of the committee was to provide support for flood victims, and by extension, similar related disaster relief situation in the country.

The committee recently  assisted victims of communal clashes and insurgency in line with its terms of reference.