Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The United States of America’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Amb. Mary Beth Leonard has commissioned a state-of-the-art public health Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital.
Speaking at the virtual commissioning, Amb Leonard noted that the USAID-upgraded centre would enable “centralised real-time monitoring and predictive modelling for enhanced coordination of activities.”
She commended the Federal and state governments as well as other stakeholders for their efforts to curtail the dreaded corona virus, stressing that the EOC would also help in making informed decisions about the pandemic and similar public health emergencies.
Also speaking, the Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri described the establishment of the EOC as a welcome development that would improve healthcare delivery in the state.
According to the Governor, the Centre could also enhance planning, coordination and management of the COVID-19 pandemic and other infectious diseases.
Represented by his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, he said efforts were on top gear to set up a molecular laboratory for the testing of the Corona Virus, adding that the state would soon take delivery of a biosafety cabinet.
Senator Diri who is the Chairman of the state COVID-19 Task Force lamented the spike in confirmed cases in Bayelsa with a current fatality rate of six percent.
Governor Diri attributed this ugly trend to what he described as belief in myths, halo effect and stereotypes which promote the negative impression that the disease is not real.
He expressed gratitude to the US Government and other partners for making the project a reality and assured them of proper use of the Centre to effectively fight the pandemic and other ailments.
His words,”What we are doing is for us to provide health facilities that help us to respond to the health needs of our people without necessarily overburdening them with the protocol and delay processes of getting real-time information and response in the case of emergencies and other health related challenges.
“We want to thank the US Government and its partners for this kind gesture. We believe not only for the purpose of the COVID-19 that is ravaging now but that this Centre will also serve our purpose for other infectious diseases that may occur.
“While we pray against the outbreak of other infectious diseases, we live in a world where anything can happen. And since we are planning for both good and bad, we are now in a better position with the deployment of this new technology to manage such emergencies and health issues that may arise. For now, we are still going to Port Harcourt for testing. But we are working round the clock to ensure that before the end of this month, we will have our localized testing.