By; PAMELA EBOH, Awka
The Commissioner of Health in Anambra State, Dr Vincent Okpala has called on residents of the state to be careful against a likely second wave of COVID-19 pandemic.
Making the call in Awka during a live TV programme, Dr Okpala expressed displeasure at the attitude of people toward the pandemic.
He said the Ministry is conducting tests on a daily basis and still picking up positive cases and managing them expertly to avoid raising alarm.
He appealed to people still living in denial to wake up and stop deceiving others insisting that the pandemic is real.
Okpala said, “I am truly worried that we still have naysayers in respect to COVID-19 pandemic; people should not joke with anything that has to do with health.
“Our index case in the state was identified on April 10; we are currently hitting the 7th month of this pandemic and its response in the state.
“We have a saying that ‘Oyi akwa asa aru mara onwe ya makana anaghi agwa ochi nti na aya esugo’, meaning we must be careful and pay heed to observe all the warnings against COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is amazing when people actually decide not to listen; yes we have lost great citizens to this deadly disease. So, it is no longer something being discussed in foreign climes. We know notable names of our citizens that died from this disease.
“It is not right when you need to take personal responsibility to protect yourself, to protect other people and the person refuses to do it.”
While saying that the Ministry will not relent in its efforts at advocating for the people to do the right things to help them to stay healthy and be alive, the commissioner hailed the leadership style and coordination of Governor Willie Obiano.
He said that the governor’s unique style led to the success of containing the pandemic in the state.
The commissioner assured that they would continue to engage the people on risk communication in order to do the right things always.
He added, “COVID-19 protocols had been in place, even before the index case.Those protocols were largely popularised and disseminated down to the grassroots.
“People learnt about this, we had those restrictions that went along with it and eventually we had the index case and lockdown as well.
“Before the lockdown was lifted, we went to the 63 markets, where we picked the market leadership and trained them to be COVID-19 champions as no fewer than 10 people were trained in every market.
“We carried out similar training in Churches and other public places. At a point, I commenced visiting public places like supermarkets and enforcing social distancing in a bid to curtail spread of the pandemic.
“The knowledge and law were established, but people have chosen not to be doing the right things which is not good. The structure has not given up; the structure is actually pushing, the fight is still there and still working actively.”
According to him, so much capacity had been built at every level in the pillar as the surveillance team had been active across local government, political wards and they had been working tirelessly.
“What we have done as a Government and Ministry is increasing our risk communication and surveillance activities.
“We are conducting tests in the state on a daily basis, still picking up positive cases and managing them expertly and we don’t want to sound alarmist.
“We took campaigns to schools during their resumption a few months ago, conducted test in schools at which some of the results came out positive.
“At a particular school, their COVID-19 result showed that 17 students tested positive and the situation was expertly managed without the public being aware; we tried to avoid panic.’’