By Chukwudi Nwauba
Awka, March 20, 2021 (MOI) Anambra State Government has hailed the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) over its commitment toward the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.
Gov. Willie Obiano used the opportunity to praise the leadership of NCDC for its commitment in eradicating the scourge since the index case in the country.
He said this when he received the NCDC Director-General, Dr Chikwe Ihekwazu who was in the state for a one-day work visit at Governor’s Lodge, Onitsha.
“I want to personally thank you on behalf of Nigerians for the great work, sacrifices, the commitment that you have shown since the index case to this period and in particular what you have done for Anambra.’’
He informed the NCDC DG that the state treated and took care of COVID-19 patients at their homes as well as explained that there were no single COVID-19 patients at the Protective Care Centres.
“We have special treatment packages that take care of COVID pandemic here in the state, provided the case is discovered early and the package has helped in saving lives.
“As a matter of fact my commissioner for health is one of the very best since the Coronavirus started, ably supported by my Special Adviser on Health, Dr Simeon Onyemaechi, who is holding triple positions in the health sector.
“Because we don’t joke with health, that is the reason I appointed this competent health team including a former commissioner for health, who is now the Chief Medical Director at Amaku,’’ he said.
The governor assured him of his continued support in the fight against COVID-19, praying to God to protect him and his team from the deadly disease as they continue to discharge their duties.
Commissioner for Health, Dr Vincent Okpala informed the governor that the NCDC DG along with his team was in the state to inspect the Molecular Laboratory that was fully supported by NCDC.
Dr Okpala said that with the full support of NCDC the state now has a brand new Molecular lab at the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital (COOUTH), Amaku, Awka.
“NCDC has shown a lot of support to the state, especially with respect to capacity-building, testing and treatment.
“So, when they came to COOUTH last year, we identified that gap even though we already had a system molecular lab that handles 2,350 tests per day.
“We realised that there was the need to have an open Molecular lab which actually will do a lot of viral tests like Monkeypox, Ebola, Lassa fever, COVID-19 tests and others.
“NCDC graciously decided to support these projects and that is why the DG personally came to inspect the project and he also visited the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi to inspect a similar project.’’
NCDC DG, Dr Ihekwazu applauded the governor for his words of encouragement, assuring him of his continued support.
“The first purpose of my visit is to thank you for your personal leadership, the roles you have played in the fight against the pandemic over the past one year.
“Many of my colleagues may not be aware that you’re also a member of COVID-19 Sub-Committee that is interacting with us in the Presidential Task Force every two weeks apart from our regular meetings in the forum.
“You have always boldly supported the work we do, I personally want to thank you and I am very grateful.’’
Dr Ihekwazu noted that he came to Anambra last year during the response and the governor urged him to remain focused nationally and as well to support Anambra State.
“So what you see at the COOUTH is what we do to support the state; it was during that period that your commissioner and special adviser on health took me round the site, we looked around and identified opportunities that we can support.
“That is actually what led to the Molecular lab project that we came to inspect and we will be coming back at your own wish to inaugurate the project.’’
He assured the governor that NCDC would provide all the equipment that would be used in the lab.
“The other project we are supporting in the state at NAUTH, Nnewi, is a brand new treatment centre that is not just for COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is to support the state in the management of infectious diseases now and in the future, even though it is sited at NAUTH but it will serve Ndi Anambra for many years to come.’’
“I congratulate you for choosing a great health team and I think the future is bright for all of us as far as healthcare is concerned.
“We still need your leadership in the vaccine introduction, so that people will accept to take the vaccine and please use your voice just like you have publicly done often and don’t get tired.
“Our country is tough but you are tougher and so we need your strong voice in soliciting and pushing everyone to take the vaccine. It is the only way we can return to normal live.’’
In attendance at the visit include Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Medical supply/facility and NCDC officials. (MOI)