The Enugu State Executive Council (EXCO) has approved the sum of three hundred and thirty million Naira (N330m) to prevent and/or tackle the scourge of Coronavirus – COVID-19 in the state in case of an outbreak.
Briefing newsmen after a meeting with the EXCO to update it on the level of preparedness in case of any emergency that may arise from the COVID-19 outbreak, the state medical team led by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Ifeanyi Agujiobi, stated that the Council approved the immediate upgrade and relocation of the state Isolation Centre to ESUT Teaching Hospital, Parklane, Enugu.
Dr. Agujiobi disclosed that the Council’s decision was based on the medical team’s recommendation and in line with the advice from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) that Isolation Centres are best located within the Specialist Hospitals of the states for prompt and effective emergency response.
He explained that the relocation “will be more convenient, easier for patients who may have Coronavirus or suspected to have Coronavirus to be attended to by medical specialists promptly and timely”, adding that the patient will have access to “the X-Ray machines, the dialysis machine and other high tech machines domiciled in the Teaching hospital”.
The team leader, who appreciated Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for his efforts and effective leadership role in driving “not just the health sector but the entire sectors in Enugu State”, further disclosed that the Council considered and approved the procurement of more personal protective equipment, sanitizers, masks, respirators and all that are needed to aid the physicians to manage their patients.
Confirming the EXCO approvals, the Commissioner for Information, Nnanyelugo Chidi Aroh, said that the Council commended all medical staff in the state, especially the doctors in ESUT Teaching Hospital Parklane, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, World Health Organisation and Unicef for their commitment and dedication to duty as well as resilience in the face of the current public health challenges “even at the risk of their health”. Aroh enjoined the medical staff to continue to avail all medical care seekers in the state their best care in this challenging period.
Also in his briefing, Dr Agujiobi pointed out that the team requested for the procurement of fully-fitted ambulances and incident vehicles to help respond to emergencies as they may arise, as well as the release of funds for mass advocacy and enlightenment in every nook and cranny of the state, churches, markets and schools.
Said he: “In a couple of hours, all the radio stations in Enugu will be agog with jingles and everything that we need to know regarding the Coronavirus.” He also added that the Council equally approved that funds be made available so that the health workers will have the requisite training and pursue contact tracing of those who may be suspected or may turn out to be positive, “so that we don’t need to have anything lacking.”
Dr Agujiobi further explained that the sum of N150 million was approved by the Council to tackle the issue of Coronavirus and to ensure that the state is fully prepared, while the sum N80 million was also approved for the procurement of important and essential drugs that may be needed to treat and manage Coronavirus, Lassa fever and other communicable diseases.
According to him, “the Enugu State Executive Council, in addition, approved N100 million to be kept in the Emergency Operation Centre account, in case of any emergency or any need to access fund before the next EXCO, so that we won’t be talking that there is no fund”.
The team leader stated that the toll-free line is 117 and 112 while the dedicated line for emergency response is 08182555550.