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… says State’s Medical Facilities represent future of healthcare in Nigeria

The Director General of Nigerian Center for Disease Control, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, has adjudged the Emergency Operating Center in Akwa Ibom State as the best in the country.

Dr. Ihekweazu and officials of World Health Organisation (WHO), who were in the state on a working tour of health facilities over the weekend, commended the Akwa Ibom State Government for its investment in healthcare and building institutional capacity to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

They qualify the facilities in the state’s Emergency Operations Centre as best in the country and medical facilities across the state as representing the future of healthcare in Nigeria

He expressed satisfaction over the state-of-the art facilities and quality of personnel available in the state and assured that the Federal Government and the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 will be pleased to deepen collaborations with the state.

The NCDC boss extended the gratitude of the Federal Government and the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to people and government of Akwa Ibom state and thanked the health workers for their very hard work over the past few months of the outbreak.

Speaking after inspecting the Ibom Specialist Hospital and the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) the Akwa Ibom Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), Dr. Ihekweazu said “this is actually a joint mission with the WHO. …coming to Akwa Ibom today has really been such an eye opening experience, both at Ibom Specialist Hospital and this EOC that will be opened on the 23rd of June. I think we were jointly pleasantly surprised at the opportunity this presents to the country. This will probably be the best EOC in the whole country, by the time its fully operational”.

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“The say seeing is believing, so we have really gone round from Ibom Specialist Hospital to the EOC, which I think it’s been an incredible job in terms of response to COVID, but really those facilities represent the future of healthcare in the country”, he added.

Assuring that his team will soon be in the state to work with the Akwa Ibom EOC and establish synergy in line with NCDC’s drive towards networking all EOCs in the country with the national EOC in Abuja, through which a constant communication path will be established, he said he look forward to really collaborating, strengthening the already existing strong collaborations between the Federal Government, the Presidential Taskforce, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control and the good people and government of Akwa Ibom State.

Also speaking at the Ituk Mbang Isolation Centre for Quarantine and Prevention of Infectious Disease, where the PCR Laboratory is situated, the NCDC Director General expressed great pleasure over the investment of the state government combatting COVID and taking responsibility for the health of the citizens of the state.

In his words: “the most exciting part for me is seeing this laboratory; seeing how it’s been well kitted, the expertise of the colleagues that are working here and their deep knowledge of the process. I’m really happy to bring Akwa Ibom into the national network of molecular laboratory capacity which is really what we are trying to build. We want to see every state have a molecular laboratory capacity and Akwa Ibom has really demonstrated what is possible, when there is a political will, investment in health and when the leadership of a state is taking the health of the citizens very seriously”, Dr. Ihekweazu said.

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Dr. Ihekweazu said the COVID-19 contagion being an unprecedented situation in the country, as it is world over, his team in Abuja has been making efforts to support every state as much as possible, but that a state like Akwa Ibom has made the job a lot easier by showing willingness and capacity to do for themselves what they need, adding that he was pleased to see the state government put the healthcare of citizens in front of its political agenda.

“I’m really impressed by the hospital facilities I have seen and think we are ready to manage patients, but I think the most exciting thing for me just seeing this laboratory seeing how well it has been kitted, the expertise of the colleagues that are working here already, their deep knowledge of the processes” the NCDC boss stated.

The Officer in charge of World Health Organisation in Nigeria, Dr. Fiona Braka, said the WHO team was happy to be part of the visit, which she described as enlightening. She lauded Akwa Ibom State Government for investing in healthcare, not just as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but to boost institutional capacity in healthcare delivery.

Hear her: “It’s been very enlightening going around to see the isolation facilities and the capacities that are there, the lab capacity and how the state has used the opportunity of the COVID response to build institutional capacity, not just for responding to this outbreak, but thinking beyond. We are quite pleased with the human resource capacities in the state. We are also impressed with the data management capacity, the innovative ways of looking at the data, the alerts the Call Centre and how the entire loop of the response is managed. I think these are best practices that we are taking from here”.

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However, Braka said the message from WHO is that this outbreak is still on the increase. According to her, the highest peak of cases globally, 150000, being recorded on Friday, June 19, indicates that the pandemic is still on.

Speaking on behalf of the State Government, the Secretary to the State Government and Chairman, Akwa Ibom State COVID-19 Management Committee, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, expressed the gratitude of the government and people of Akwa Ibom State to the NCDC and WHO teams for the visit to the state and for painstakingly going round to appreciate the vision of the Governor Udom Emmanuel-led government in the state.

Dr. Ekuwem also appreciated the kind words and commendations of the NCDC Director General the WHO Lead. He said the State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel has always given priority attention to the health of the citizens and remains committed to ensuring a healthy state, hence the outbreak meeting the state as if she was prepared for it. He therefore assured that the momentum of response to the pandemic in the state will be sustained.

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