By Magnus Effiong
The Chief Medical Director of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, (UCTH) Prof. Ikpeme A. Ikpeme, has disclosed that the Cross River state Covid-19 isolation centre, located at the premises of the hospital, has only four standard ICU beds and two functional ventilators.
Prof Ikpeme, who made the disclosure while conveying Journalists around the five room facility, at the weekend, solicited assistance from government, organizations and public-spirited individuals to expand the isolation center to at least a 20-bed facility with equal number of ventilators.
He said, “We acknowledge donations from some groups and organizations which have gone a long way to assisting us in this fight. Notable amongst them are the NCDC, MDCAN, NANNAM (UCTH Branch) Ben Akak Foundation, etc.
“Despite our modest efforts, a few challenges persist: Lack of PPEs and other consumables; ventilators; perimeter fencing for the isolation centre; generating set for power supply, diesel; expansion of the centre by 20 beds. We have engaged government and private organizations to seek to address these challenges.”
Ikpeme, who was accompanied by other senior management staff, noted that the UCTH isolation center at present was basically the only center equipped to handle any case of Covid-19 that may arise in the State, and commended the State government for its level of preparedness to handle any emergency.
“Special thanks go to our Governor and people of Cross River State, for their interest in ensuring the activation of our isolation centre. At the beginning of the COVID-19 scare, our isolation centre was far from being completed, and still is. We had to mobilize items from within the hospital with donations from the NCDC and the Cross River state government to get four rooms functional including a staff area.
“Currently, we have 4 functional rooms ready to take in any confirmed case based on the agreed NCDC protocol. Two out of those 4 rooms are equipped with functional ventilators.
“It is instructive to note that a team was sent from NCDC about two months ago to assess our isolation centre and there were many modifications they recommended. We are still awaiting their action as promised.
“A protocol for the management of any suspected case has been drawn up in accordance with NCDC protocol and this has been activated by our Covid-19 Task Force. This team is a multi-disciplinary team and they are the frontline health workers working with Management to confront this pandemic. The Head of the team is Dr. Ubong Udoh, a Clinical Microbiologist”.
“The entire staff of UCTH has been briefed on the UCTH Covid-19 protocols through their heads of departments/units as well as their unions. We have scaled down activities in the hospital, giving room for mainly emergencies, and discouraging cold cases being seen at this time.
“Since activation of the Isolation Centre, we have admitted one suspected case but discharged her after about 5 days admission when her result came out negative for COVID-19,” he stated.