Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel has directed that the taskforce for containment of the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state be trained and equipped to undertake its critical task, as the state commences a week-long lockdown.
Udom gave the directive when he met with executives of the Conglomeration of Health Workers Against COVID-19 at Government House, Uyo, on Sunday.
The Conglomeration of Health Workers Against COVID-19 is an amalgamation of the four 4 major health care associations in Akwa Ibom state, including the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) and the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists (AMLSN).
In his remarks, Governor Emmanuel commended health workers’ unions for their show of patriotism, solidarity and commitment toward forestalling incidence and spread of the global pandemic in Akwa Ibom state.
“You have displayed genuine patriotism in the fight to forestall the incident and spread of the global pandemic, covid-19, in our dear state. I’m particularly impressed by your show of solidarity and commitment in getting the right things done in this cause”.
The Governor asked each of the associations in the conglomeration to contribute personnel to the Akwa Ibom State Emergency Task Force on COVID-19.
He stated that training will commence immediately for members of the task force, saying this will position them to function optimally during any eventuality in the state, stressing the need for training on information management and proper communication about the disease to avoid creating unnecessary panic in the society, expressing regret over misinformation peddled so far which has caused panic across the state.
On the week-long statewide lockdown, the state chief executive stated that it will not affect foodstuff markets, explaining that shutting down the market in a state where a good number of citizens live on subsistent farming and petty trading, will bring untold hardship on the people.
“Stopping people from going to farms and markets in a state like ours where majority depend on these for their sustenance, will bring untold hardship on the people and will be counterproductive hence state government will not allow it”.
Speaking on behalf of the Conglomeration of Health Workers Against COVID-19, Akwa Ibom State Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr Nsikak Nyoyoko, lauded the visionary leadership of Governor Udom Emmanuel which, he said, was evident in the massive upgrade of medical facilities in the state.
This, he added, has earned the Governor the prestigious national recognition of Healthcare Ambassador.
“Your Excellency, you are a visionary man. Sir while some of your colleagues paid lip service to healthcare, you embarked on massive renovation and equipping of our hospitals. Sir the energy and resources you put into this marvelled us so much. No wonder you have remained the NMA Healthcare Ambassador- a prestigious recognition from doctors nationally”.
The state NMA Chairman further said measures adopted by the Governor against the incursion of the pandemic in the state, including the temporary lockdown, were commendable, considering the rise in a fatality rate of the pandemic which, according to him, has risen first from about 1.5% to 2.5% and now 14%.
He also disclosed that as part of an effort to sensitize the people, the Conglomeration of health workers has organized a public lecture on COVID-19 which was delivered by a renowned Professor of Respiratory Medicine, mass-produce and distributed hand sanitizers to health professionals, lecturers at the University of Uyo and Akwa Ibom State University, Police officers and other members of the public.
Dr. Nyoyoko, therefore, assured the Governor of the readiness of the army of health workers to the war against COVID-19.