Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have commended the Ogun State Government’s efforts at flattening the curve of the coronavirus spread.
Both organisations said they were impressed with the quality of facilities on ground, the human capital and the willingness of the Dapo Abiodun administration to go the extra mile in ensuring that the state does not become an epicentre for COVID-19 transmission.
NCDC Director-General Dr Chike Ihekweazu, after inspecting the first state fully funded molecular laboratory at the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital, Sagamu, and the 128-bed COVID-19 Isolation and Treatment Centre at Ikenne, on Wednesday, lauded the leadership of the state in setting an example to other states on how to deal with the pandemic.
The NCDC boss said that the Centre for Disease Control was proud of what the state had been able to accomplish and promised to work with the state government in its quest to battle the pandemic.
“I think what I have seen in Ogun today and over the past few weeks in my engagement with the Commissioner is a willingness to go the extra mile. For us, the job is half done, so on behalf of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and the World Health Organisation, we are committed to supporting you. You have been on this journey longer than any other state in the country, so you deserve some of the most stringent support that we have,” he said.
Dr Ihekweazu also noted that it was a bit difficult to put a stop to social gatherings, but nevertheless urged the state government to communicate with the people in a way that they would take ownership and responsibility for the changes in the lifestyle they will have to adopt.
“We are a social people, a social country. We love interactions, being close to each other, hugging each other, celebrating each other, our weddings, our social events, football – all these are things that define who we are and giving up on all of that for longer periods of time will come with some pain. That is really where your leadership skills will be so needed. Yourself and other leaders in the state should do more to communicate with the people in a way that they would take ownership and responsibility for the changes in the lifestyle they will have to adapt,” he said.
In her remarks, the Country Director, World Health Organisation, Dr Fiona Braka, applauded the state government for having the capacity that could take in more patients.
“We are so much impressed and would like to congratulate Your Excellency and your team that has been working very hard. We are here to see what you have done. We leave with a positive note that there is capacity in Ogun State to take more patients, so congratulations, Ogun State,” she said.
In his remarks, Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun disclosed that the state was fully set to tackle the pandemic while adding that the state was set to begin the process of giving face masks to its people as soon as the first batch of million pieces are ready.
Abiodun disclosed that the state had invested billions of naira for setting up isolation centres, sensitisation, manpower development, surveillance, procuring equipment and other logistics and especially to purchase food items distributed across the state to mitigate the effects of the lockdown on its citizens.
He added that the molecular laboratories and what the WHO and NCDC team found in the state “were through self-help”. He said the state had procured equipment for drive-through testing in the local communities to ensure no stone is left unturned to curb the spread of the disease.
Abiodun called on the Federal Government to come to the aid of his administration so that more could be achieved.