The Delta State chapter of Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN) has commended the governor of Delta State, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and health care professionals in the state over their professional and important role both has been playing against the ravaging pandemic that is said to have killed millions of people all over the world, whilst recommending for testing facilities in the state for proximal advantages for the inhabitants of the delta .
In a statement signed by both Tpl Paul Akporowho and Lewis Afolabi, president and Secretary of the chapter of the body; said undoubtedly the decision coming from his Excellency, governor Okowa putting the state under lockdown was a wise decision and courageous, saying the complementary roles of health care professionals, security and the understanding of Deltans remain golden.
The Statement Puts: “We appreciate your decision to take into importance the far-reaching implication by asking inhabitants staying at home and observing the physical distancing essentially by the good people of delta state in joint contribution to the continuous success towards our collective drive to contain, control and defeat the COVID-19 scourge”.
“It isn’t news that the Coronavirus disease is an infectious disease newly discovered and has the ability to be rapidly transmitted from one infected person to another”.
“Our People must continue take sustainable precautions against this illness, where symptoms such as dry cough, sore throat, and sneezing, where additionally, some get severe in those with underlying medical conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, chronic respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, as prevention of spread of the infection include hand washing with liquid soap, use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers, use of face masks and avoiding frequent touching of the face amongst others becomes of importance”.
“Rapid serological testing kits are being validated for use in Nigeria, Currently; only about 9 centres have the capacity to undertake molecular testing in Nigeria, with the closest to Delta being the Irruah Specialist Teaching Hospital in Edo State”.
“The APBN have observed that provisions of Personnel Protective Equipments (PPEs) are grossly inadequate, It is not uncommon to see environmental health offices, health workers and security personnel deployed to enforce social distancing and other related rules in the markets, roads and other public places without any form of PPEs, security personnel deployed to enforce the lockdown lack awareness and proper briefing, leading to incidents of harassments and intimidation of individuals, Keke raiders and market women who have cogent reasons to be on the road and other places are not left out as victims”
“We however advise, since it becomes imperative for every health worker and supporting personnel who is at the forefront of the fight against Coronavirus, to be protected in order that they stay alive, therefore, the provision of appropriate Personal Protective Equipment becomes expedient”
“The Professional Bodies believe despite the successes made so far, there is also the need for all to brace up as we are approaching the 4th week of the lockdown”.
“Things are about to get even tougher as many households are running out of foodstuff and incomes needed by their families to survive during this period is gradually diminishing”.
“We Suggest Delta State Government needs to step up its efforts at providing palliatives, as there is the need to make more distribution and monitoring with efficiency and transparency by involving credible religious leaders, professional bodies and the media”.
The APBN is of the views that corporate bodies, religious organisation, non-governmental organizations and other well-meaning individuals should be involved by complementing Government efforts in provision of palliatives in order to reduce and ameliorate the widespread hardship in the land, occasioned by loss of livelihood especially amongst the less privileged and a majority of those who lost their means of livelihood because they largely depend on daily work to eke out a living.
“We understand that part of means preventing rapid spread of the pandemic is by identifying those infected as quickly as possible through accurate testing of the vast majority of the population. With just about 9 testing centres in Nigeria, this is grossly inadequate”.
The Association of Professional Body, therefore, call on the Delta State government to put the existing Genexpert machines deployed for detection of tuberculosis with slight modifications, using appropriate software for detection of the Coronavirus. “Delta State currently has about 10 Genexpert machines in some health facilities, which can go a long way in increasing testing capacity if put into use. The establishment of at least two (2) molecular diagnostic centres; (one each in Asaba and Warri) will surely reduce the turn-around time in detection of infectious diseases and aid in saving lives and curbing the spread of the disease”.
“We are hopeful that since his Excellency the Governor is a medical doctor himself, will not only give urgent attention to this recommendation but will do all that is necessary to make the testing facilities functional, efficient, accessible and affordable to them all”.