By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Akwa Ibom State Government is making more leaps to contain the dreaded CoronaVirus disease, otherwise called COVID-19 and other infectious diseases in the state with the inauguration of a-300 bed Infectious Disease Treatment Centre, described by health professionals as matching the world class standards in healthcare.
The centre located within the Methodist General Hospital, Ituk Mbang, Uruan Local Government Area of the state, has Category 3 Virology and Clinical Lab 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.
Performing the inauguration as part of activities his one year in office at the weekend, Governor Udom Emmanuel announced that 25 more containers of medical equipment acquired by his administration have arrived and would soon be deployed to health facilities in the state.
He lamented that despite providing over 25 percent of the country’s revenue,
Though the federal government has failed to set up any health laboratory or treatment centre in Akwa Ibom in spite the state’s position contributing over 25 percent to national revenue, Governor Emmanuel said that he decided to set up a PCR laboratory to handle COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
He announced the state government has acquired 25 additional containers of equipment to set up 2020 standard Intensive Care Units in health facilities across the three senatorial districts of the state
“We have cleared all those 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”, Udom said.
He also announced that his administration has acquired more ambulances, and would acquire more to be placed at strategic locations to transport people to any general hospital so that they can be well assured of effective health care delivery.
According to him, 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.”
Governor Emmanuel commended the Methodist Church for allowing the government to 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 a time when 15 minutes and even one hour will be too much to travel out of this country for health care.”
He argued that, 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.
The Governor recounted that the World Health Organization officials who visited the Centre, described the place 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.
Speaking at the occasion, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. 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.
Dr 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 centre 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, Dr. Nsikak Nyoyoko said the centre will also serve for research and training in laboratory virology, adding that the Centre is a facility long yearned for in the state.
“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”
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, saying it shall be of immense benefit in tackling health care needs beyond COVID 19 era.
In his remarks, the commissioner for works, Mr. Ephraim Inyang-eyen whose ministry supervised the project commended Governor Emmanuel for his vision to establish the Centre. Also to youth of Uruan local government, the host community for their cooperation and support while the construction work on the project lasted.
Other goodwill messages were presented by stakeholders in the health sector of the state, traditional and political class, all praising the governor on the ingenuity to establish the centre.
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.”