Abia State Government has inaugurated a committee to manage the prevention and preparation to handle issues around the reported outbreak of Coronavirus in Nigeria.
The committee which terms of reference include launching preventive media campaigns, putting machinery in place to protect vulnerable groups such as school children, identification and preparation of isolation centers in case of any outbreak in the state, procurement of test kits and drugs as well as coordination with state and federal agencies, was inaugurated by the Secretary to State Government (SSG), Barr Chris Ezem, at the Government House, Umuahia.
The committee which is chaired by the state Commissioner for Health, Dr Joe Osuji, has the commissioner for information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, his counterparts in fHomeland Security, Prince Dan Okoli and Science and Technology, Chief Chijioke Madumere, who is the Secretary, as members.
Speaking while inaugurating the Committee, Barr Ezem charged the members to ensure that no stone was left unturned to protect the people of the state and residents from the reported Coronavirus outbreak as the Governor Okezie Ikpeazu-led administration prioritizes the health and safety of the citizens above other considerations. He assured that the Government will provide necessary resources to support the committee in the discharge of its mandate without let or hindrance.
Responding on behalf of the committee, the chairman, Dr Osuji, assured that the state ministry of health went to work early enough to put in place necessary preventive measures as well as establishment of response protocols in case of any outbreak in the state. He stated that the ministry has already identified isolation centers in Umuahia and Aba while working on a third center to be located in Abia North Senatorial Zone.
Dr Osuji further called on the people of the state to observe good hygiene practices including regular washing of hands, cleaning of their environment and prompt reporting of suspected cases to medical facilities in the state. He informed that the ministry has already procured face masks and gloves for distribution to medical centers and will soon embark on preventive screening of people who visit government offices and other high risk public places.
Other terms of reference for the committee include: mitigation plan to prevent collapse of trade and commerce in the state in the unlikely event of an outbreak, defining a plan to protect public places including eateries, hotels and restaurants. The committee is also to liaise with medical institutions in the state and beyond to coordinate response and testing as well as advise government on any other incidental step that is necessary to combat the disease in case it breaks out in the state.