Geoffrey Anyanwu, Enugu
The Enugu State Executive Council (EXCO) has approved N330 million to prevent and/or tackle the scourge of Coronavirus – COVID-19 in the state in case of any outbreak.
Briefing newsmen after a meeting with the EXCO to update it on the level of preparedness in case of any emergency that may arise from the COVID-19 outbreak, the state medical team led by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Ifeanyi Agujiobi, stated that the Council approved the immediate upgrade and relocation of the state Isolation Centre to ESUT Teaching Hospital, Parklane, Enugu.
Dr. Agujiobi said the Council’s decision was based on the medical team’s recommendation and in line with the advice from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) that Isolation Centres are best located within the Specialist Hospitals of the states for prompt and effective emergency response.
He explained that the relocation “will be more convenient, easier for patients who may have Coronavirus or suspected to have Coronavirus to be attended to by medical specialists promptly and timely”, adding that the patient will have access to “the X-Ray machines, the dialysis machine and other high tech machines domiciled in the Teaching hospital”.
The team leader, who appreciated Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for his efforts and effective leadership role in driving “not just the health sector but the entire sectors in Enugu State”, further disclosed that the Council considered and approved the procurement of more personal protective equipment, sanitizers, masks, respirators and all that are needed to aid the physicians manage their patients.
Dr. Agujiobi explained that N150 million was approved to tackle the issue of Coronavirus and to ensure the state is fully prepared, while N80 million was also approved for procurement of important and essential drugs that may be needed to treat and manage Coronavirus, Lassa fever and other communicable diseases.
However, death of a 70-year-old woman suspected to have contracted coronavirus and kept in an isolation centre in Enugu a day after she was declared negative of the virus has pitched the deceased family against the Enugu State government.
The deceased had returned from the United Kingdom with symptoms similar to those with coronavirus forcing the government to quarantine her for further tests.
In the letter to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the late woman’s daughter said “whilst the health workers/officials at ESUTH Colliery Parklane had to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves against this virus, the manner and state at which they treated my mother was inhumane. ”
But government sources blamed the family for allaegedly hiding information from the State Teaching Hospital where she was brought after allegedly being rejected at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Ituku Ozalla.
They also said government made efforts to get the woman isolated and tested with timely result to confirm her negative of Covid -19.