Raymond Ozoji, Awka
Anambra State Government yesterday showed the entire nation and the world at large that it is fully prepared to contain the deadly Coronavirus currently threatening the very existence of the whole universe. Although there is no established case of the disease in the state, the state government has taken several precautionary and preventive measures to ensure that the virus does not spread across the state in the event of any eventuality.
Those were the submissions of the state commissioner for health, Dr. Vincent Ogochukwu Okpala, as well as the state commissioner for information and public enlightenment, Mr. C.Don Adinuba, at the hallowed chambers of the Anambra State House of Assembly, when the legislators summoned them to explain the level of preparedness of the state to contain the spread of Coronavirus, as it did in the Lassa Fever case.
Dr. Okpala stated that governnent was not unaware of her primary responsibility to protect the lives and property of the citizenry. As a result, the ministry of health in conjunction with the ministries of information, transport, trade and commerce and a host of others were working to sensitise the public on disease prevention through self-quarantine and observance of simple personal hygiene methods.
The commissioner also disclosed that there was only one established case of Covid19 in the country which is in Lagos State but Anambra state, according to him, has not had any case of Coronavirus. He made mention of some five persons who were said to have returned from China and the ministry of health was notified.
He said the five persons who returned to the state from China were followed up closely just to ensure that they did not develop symptoms of the viral disease, noting that governnent was working tirelessly to ensure that there is no case of Covid19 in Anambra state.
Though he mentioned that governnent has designated quarantine centres at Nnewi and general hospital Onitsha, he noted that more of such facilities would be put in place even as he said that people had been advised to wash their hands with soap and running water as well as use alcohol-based hand-sanitizers.
He said people had also been encouraged to maintain considerable distance when they cough as well as use tissue paper to cover their nose and dispose same immediately after use while non-essential travels are also being discouraged in the circumstance.
Okpala however assured all and sundry that governnent was combat-ready for coronavirus as the community surveillance persons, local government disease surveillance and education officers together with the state public health and disease control department were all on standby to disseminate information about any epidemic for rapid response even though he said shortage of personnel, paucity of funds, inadequate equipment were some of the challenges confronting the ministry of health.
C. Don Adinuba told the legislators that Anambra state was the first in the whole country to raise concern about coronavirus. He said the ministry produced an advisory in collaboration with the ministry of health to the people to notify them of the deadly contagious virus.
Adinuba noted that Anambra people travel more than any other people in the whole of Africa and as such it became necessary that the advisory be issued because they also travel to China for commercial purposes. He explained that the state also issued an advisory on the outbreak of Lassa Fever as well as proactive measures to tackle it, noting that Lassa Fever was more dangerous than the coronavirus.
The information commissioner stated that through strong proactive communications, especially in Igbo and Ighala local dialects, the state contained and managed Lassa Fever and that same measure is being applied to the coronavirus pandemic, stressing that Anambra state must not only remain the safest state in the country in terms of security but also in response to public health challenges.
Hon. Emeka Aforka of Orumba-North state constituency suggested that test kits for coronavirus should be deployed to motorparks as well as all entry and exit points across the state as preventive mechanism.
The Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Dr. Nnamdi Okafor, recommended adequate use of the social media to spread information about coronavirus and its attendant deadly consequences.