By Magnus Effiong
The federal government COVID-19 team, made up of officials from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Federal Ministry of Health (FMH) and the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHDA) have lauded the government of Cross River state for taking proactive steps to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the state.
In an interactive session with Dr Beta Edu, the State Commissioner for Health/Chairman Cross River COVID-19 Respond Team, Monday, the federal government team leader, Dr. Omobolanle Olowu of the Federal Ministry of Health headquarter, said it was an established facts that Gov Ben Ayade took steps on time to stop the spread and that the action explains why the State was yet to record any case.
She said: “I commend the governor, for his proactivenesss because the state started in January while the other states were still dillydallying and living in denial that it will not come to us and it is only for people who travel abroad.
“But Cross River State took the bull by the horns and seeing the figures in America, UK, it said we will not sit down and fold our arms before we wake up you will have cases coming in.
“You proactively started, shut down your borders, started producing masks and even screening which I want to say, well done and congratulations.
“I believe that must be the reason why the state, up till now, is yet to record a case and also to say congratulations to the governor for the garment factory that has produced 1.5 million masks up to date and distributed free of charge to the citizens of the state.
“I will take it back to the president and the Minister that the issue of face masks is something that is taken very seriously in the state and we saw it even in the airport and for the fact that a task force was even set up to enforce the use of face mast is commendable.
“Besides, the fact that your garment factory is producing Personal Protective Equipments is something we should give you accolades for because this is something that is needed and wanted all over the world.
“Everybody is looking for PPE’s and yet it is right under our nose, so we will take this back to the minister and even the president to see how the garment factory could be patronised and even make it a campaign that even people from outside the country can come and patronize it.”
Similarly, a representative of the National Centre for Diseases Control, Nwachukwu William, also commended the state for its efforts in containing the spread of Covid 19, particularly in the area of prevention.
He explained that the NCDC has been in the forefront of containing the outbreak of the virus in the country and therefore pledged support to Cross River particularly in the area of surveillance in the international borders to protect the state from being affected by the scourge of the Covid 19.
Earlier, Dr Edu disclosed that the State government had set up an Emergency Operations Centre as early as January to help check the outbreak, in addition to recruiting 3,000 primary health care workers as well as 1,500 town criers to take the coronavirus message to the grassroots.
She said the government thereafter embarked on production and distribution of 1.5 million free face masts as well as 200, 000 locally produced hand sanitizers with the ‘no mask, no movement’ campaign enforced holistically.
The Commissioner appealed for capacity building in the area of surveillance so as to prevent the uncontrollable migration of people into the state as well as the establishment of a Vaccine Research and Production Factory in Cross River