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COVID – 19 and Akwa Ibom Experience:

COVID – 19 and Akwa Ibom Experience:

let’s be proactive for once

Those who fall for the temptation of always ascribing political undertones to messages from this stable can be forgiven. In the fight against the global pandemic – even in the United States where the dichotomy between the Democrats and Republicans is intractable – such political leanings have been jettisoned in favour of united action against the scourge. That’s the spirit.

COVID 19 is not a politician and so we must employ an apolitical attitude towards combating it. Let’s emulate the large-heartedness of the Federal Government while applauding the examples set by the Lagos State Government.

For starters, as at today, there is probably no confirmed case of COVID 19 within Akwa Ibom State. But with the behavioural patterns of humans and the dynamics of the spread of the virus, it is not out of place to suggest that we may be playing host to a few victims who are unknown and unidentified because they are untested. An index case can spread rapidly to as many as one thousand persons in one day considering our extreme communal lifestyles and hospitality, even at personal risk.

We need to urgently initiate and enforce a system of compulsory random testing. We need to set up test teams and test centres. We should know where one can voluntarily walk into and be tested. This is the way to discover infected people with asymptomatic cases and truly nip this pandemic in the bud.  This is the way to go. As a corollary to this, we must begin to also prepare isolation centres for any eventuality.

We acknowledge the Government’s efforts so far. But there have been discordant tunes from many quarters. For instance, soon after Government announced the designation of the Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH) in Ikot Ekpene as Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) for COVID 19 and claimed that same was equipped for that purpose, the Paramount Ruler of Obot Akara, His Royal Majesty Okuku Uwah Umoh Adiaka denied the claim that the hospital is specially equipped and prepared to receive COVID 19 cases. Also confirming the Monarch’s position, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dominic Ukpong explained that the lack of a Ventilator and perhaps other sensitive facilities in the designated Centre in Ikot Ekpene is owed to security concerns. The management of Ibom Specialist Hospital (now styled Ibom Multi-Specialty Hospital) has also said through it’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is well equipped, it is not ready for COVID 19 cases.

The current face-off between the Commissioner for Health and his colleagues in MMA is unfortunate. Frosty relations with other professionals in NANNM, AMLSN and PSN also calls for concern. All efforts must be geared towards resolving the issues which we hope borders on strategy. Topmost of these considerations is the understanding and commitment to save lives. Our administrators and related professionals in the health sector must remember their Hippocratic Oath above all else and give peace a chance.

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