From David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic should not be a source of worry to the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH) and its host communities as measures are already in place to contain its spread, according to Dr Joseph Ugboaja, the Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC) of the institution.
Dr Ugboaja insisted on Thursday that there is nothing to worry, pointing to a high level of preparedness on the ground.
He said in an interview that all measures activated to fight the pandemic in its first wave are already in place, assuring that extra measures would be added as an outcome of research findings based on the experience of the first wave of the pandemic.
He noted that during the first wave of the pandemic, the hospital took various measures, including sensitising host communities on Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and World Health Organization’s pandemic mitigation protocols, a programme he said yielded positive results.
Dr Ugboaja assured that the NAUTH was battle-ready to contain the second wave of the pandemic by every possible means, advising the general public not to be negligent in their compliance with established protocols, including regular handwashing, use of face masks, and social distancing.
‘We’ve gone through the first round of COVID-19 and I think the government responded very well towards fighting the pandemic in the first phase. The central government constituted central committees, strengthened the NCDC, the Federal Ministry of Health and collaborating agencies with tremendous support to teaching hospitals,’ he stated.
‘Government has gone ahead to establish and strengthen virology laboratories in almost all the tertiary health institutions in the country. Government backed it up with the supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), the establishment of vaccination centres and training of laboratory health care workers. And that, in my mind, accounted for the good outcome we had in the first wave of COVID-19 in the country. Though we had cases, the mortality rate was low comparatively. Indeed, it was among the lowest across the globe.
‘Now that we are about experiencing the second wave already occurring in other climes, the good thing is that the system is already strengthened, prepared and I would expect better measures in terms of containing it and all of that. So, I think the hospitals are well prepared now.
‘Most of the virology laboratories have now come up in the process of procurement and all of that. Government has even given the approval for establishing and equipping the Intensive Care Units (ICUs) across the tertiary hospitals in the country,’ the CMAC said.
Dr Ugboaja, who many NAUTH stakeholders are said to have tipped for the top job of Chief Medical Director, noted that containing the spread of the pandemic has a lot to do with behaviour modification of the general public in terms of adhering to the COVID-19 protocols.