Abia ready for COVID -19′, says Commissioner

From Steve Oko, Umuahia

Commissioner for Health Abia State, Dr. Joe Osuji, has declared that the had put in place, adequate measures to tackle the deadly coronavirus in the eventuality of its outbreak in the state.

The Commissioner who stated this Thursday while conducting journalists round one of the isolation centres at Abia Specialist Hospital Amachara Umuahia said the State government had already equipped three isolation centres to deal with the pandemic.

He said although there was no case of the disease yet in the state, government decided to ensure the isolation centres were fully equipped as part of proactive steps to contain the disease.

He said the 10-beded hospital had been provided with all the necessary facilities to ensure adequate treatment and comfort of patients in the event of its outbreak in the state.

The Commissioner explained that the isolation centre was formerly built for tuberclosis patients who had been relocated to the Federal Medical Centre Umuahia to free up the centre for eventual coronavisus patients.

He said that the necessary equipment needed for managing COVID-19 patients including 7000 Personnel Protective Equipment ,PPE; ventilators, among others had been delivered to the centre .

Dr. Joe Osuji further said “the centre has two doctor’s room, nurses room, laboratory designated to host the testing kits and run other tests, X-ray room, duffing room, five-bedded isolation wards, each for males and females with conveniences, TV sets, respirators, oxygen canisters, treatment room, consulting room among others.

The Commissioner who said consultant doctors and nurses had also been deployed to the centre in the event of any outbreak described the centre as the best in the South East.

He said all facilities at the centre were functioning well for the comfort of eventual patients and the medical team.

The Commissioner dismissed as mischievous, claims by the opposition that the state were ill -prepared to deal with the pandemic, challenging them to visit the centre and other isolation centres for confirmation .

Dr. Osuji said that apart from the two five-bedded wards, there was provision for one 100-bedded extension in case of patients overflow with additional 2,500 PPEs at the location.

He explained that Abia State Government made attempts
to procure Testing Kits but was advised by the National Centre for Desease Control (NCDC) to shelve the idea as according to them most of the Testing Kits in circulation today are fake.

Osuji, therefore, appealed to the federal government to provide Testing Kits to Abia State and other States of the federation, stressing that ready availability of Testing Kits remains key in the effort to contain the pandemic.

He also called on the people not to panic but adhere to the medical guidelines given to them on how to prevent the infection.

Contributing, the State Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, disclosed that the PPE produced in Aba had been delivered to the State Government and would be handed-over to the Commissioner for Health today to ascertain their fitness for use.

Continuing, Okiyi said that the State is still very hopeful she would not get the infection, adding that the Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, was ready to deploy all available resources in the state and beyond to protect the lives of the citizens and residents of the State.

He called on those he described as “seasonal politicians not to politicize the current situation the world is facing but rather sincerely contribute their bits to help solve the COVID-19 challenge. ”

In her remarks, the state Epidemiologist, Lady Peace Nwaogwugwu, who described the case definition for those to be tested for the virus explained that at the moment the state had enough sample bags to dispatch samples to Edo state for analysis and assured Abians that with the measures put in place by the state government, the state is more than prepared to handle any eventuality arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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