The Value News

COVID 19:Mustapha Heaves A Sigh Of Relief Over CBCN Offering of Its Health Facilities As Isolation And Treatment Centers To Government While The pandemic Surges

 

By Elizabeth Chukwuma

For the past two weeks, Boss Mustapha, Chairman, Presidential   Task Force, PTF, on COVID 19, and Secretary to government of the Federation, had not been a happy person.

This is because of the problem of bed spaces at the Isolation and treatment facilities across  the country. The situation  appear to have  been in worse  in Lagos,  Abuja, the Feral Capital Territory, FCT and the ancient city of Kano  because of the rising cases of  new COVID 19 patients  on a daily basis.

The number of infected COVID 19 patients ,  according to an official of the Lagos state government, may have been on the increase in Lagos, particular, because  of the relaxation of the one month lock  down in the city, FCT and Ogun, at the instance of President Muhammadu Buhari.   

Boss Mustapha: Chairman, PTF On COVID 19

Many believe that the rising cases of the  COVID 19 patients may have worsened because Nigerians also failed to observe the Nigerian Center For Disease Control, NCDC, under the close watch of the Chikwe Ihekweazu and the World Health Organisation, WHO, a  United Nations,UN, health agency Social Distancing rules. 

In supporting the government to cope in taking care of the infected patients, corporate Organistaions and agencies had stepped in to support the government by providibg Isolation and Treatment centers.

One of such agencies was the Nigerian Ports Authority,NPA, where Hajia Hadiza Bala Usman,  the Managing Director, and other stakeholders  agreed   to let go  a 130  bed space Agura  hotel facility at the FCT,  to the PTF, on COVID 19,  to  be used as an Isolation center.

 The donation of the Agura  Hotel facility to the government by the agency  and its partners  may have opened the flood gate for other Corporate Organisations including Gurantee Trust Bank, popular, GTB, Zenith and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, to follow suit.

In spite of the provision of these  isolation centers across the country, the government through its administering agency  the  PTF, on COVID 19, were still not  finding it funny in coping with the number of  patients.  Indeed, the government may have known that it could no longer handle the crisis alone  especially with the evacuation of over 600  stranded Nigerians  from Dubai, United Arab Emirate, UAE, United Kingdom, UK, and the North American country  of the  United states, US that Presideent Muhammadu Buhari called on public spirited Nigerians  and other Corporate organizations to assist.

 Geofrey Onyeama, minister of Foreign Afairs, may have spoken the mind of the Katsina state born Nigerian President when he said  Nigeria is reaching a saturation point  with regards  to the process  of evacuating  the  stranded Nigerians from across the world because  of lack of  Isolation and Treatment centers to  keep them for the mandatory two weeks.

A source at the  NCDC confirmed to The Value News  that  most of the foreign based  returnees  flown to Lagos and the FCT, are  yet to be  fully sorted out because of inadequate Isolation and Treatment facilities in these two major cities.  

Ihekweazu: DG, NCDC

The Catholic Bishops Conference  of  Nigeria, CBCN, may  have  heeded to the President’s call  as it offered  400 of their  health facilities  across  the country  to the  government  to be used as  COVID 19 Isolation centers. It was a big relief to Mustapha, the PTF COVID 19 boss who was said to have heaved a sigh of relief.

An elated Mustapha,   who could not hide his feelings on the CBCN, gesture  said ” the facilities  would be used  by the government to  tackle the issue of bed spaces  currently  been experienced  in various Isolation centers across the country”, particular, Lagos , FCT and Kano.

Prior to  the CBCN, donation of theír health facilities across the country  to support the government, the PTF COVID 19 boss had told  those that cares to  listen  that they were sitting idle or  watching the drama at the existing Isolation  and treatment centers across the  country. According to him the task Force personnel with the support of the President had   intensified efforts ‘’to increase  the number  of the Isolation  and treatment centers in the country’’.

 The PTF, COVID 19 chairman blamed the  running out of bed spaces, in the states Isolation and treatment  centers  to  the  relaxation of the ongoing  lock down  across the states  as the nation had experienced  a spike  in the number  of newly discovered  coronavirus  pandemic cases due to inadequate  testing equipment. Recall that the Taraba state  government had cried out that there are  no COVID 19 testing Van   in the state, which had made it difficult for patients who had presented themselves   to go through the process to be tested of the disease in order to know their status.

The governors  may have pushed Mustapha , the Chairman of the   PTF on COVID 19, who has the President’s ear to the Wall  that he had sought  his approval to involve them in  stting up Isolation   centers  ”to accommodate level one  and two of Isolation  and treatment centers”. He got it.

 There are indications that the COVID 19, Task Force  will  introduce the policy in the next coming weeks that would force the states  in funding the project instead of leaving out everything entirely to the Federal government to handle. 

While  the World Health Organisation, WHO, are currently supporting  Scientists, researchers and Pharmaceutical  Companies  to produce the vaccines and drugs for the cure of the  disease with the $50 billion financial support from China , following the withdrawal of US, from  funding it, Madagascar claimed that, a Central African country, it had  found  the herbal drugs for the cure of the deadly  disease.  

Mustapha, the PTF COVID 19, helmsman, who is working closely with the Presidency to eradicate the pandemic  in country may have gladdened the heart of Nigerians  when he said that  the President  has given  him the nod   to  import some  of  the Madagascar herbal drugs  from  Guinea Bissau for use on the Coronavirus patients in the country. 

He disclosed that the herbal drugs  will  be subjected   to the validation analysis before it could  be administered on the Nigerian patients as directed by the President.

He disclosed that  Madagascar  herbal drugs, which may have been  produced in Commercial  quantity  in Guinea Bissau,  is  on its way to  Nigeria  for clinical analysis to ascertain     its efficacy  by the National Institute  for Pharmaceutical Research  and Development,  NIPRD,  and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration, NAFDAC. If it is found to be a  cure  for  the dreaded disease the  government  may   flood the Nigeria market with it at affordable price to curb the spread of the disease .

Meanwhile the number of those who were said to have contacted the disease in the country  as at Wednesday, May 113, 2020, were said to have hit  4,787,  according to the NCDC, with  the discovery of 146 confirmed new cases in Lagos, Kano and sixteen other states of the Federation including the FCT, which had only one patient the figure had continued to surge on a daily basis.

Lagos, alone was said to have produced 57 patients, who are competing with other patients for the limited bed spaces at the Isolation and treatment centers,  while Kano, maintain its second position as one of the highest COVID 19 states as it produced 27 NCDC confirmed new patients .

  Medical experts believe that the Coronavirus  is gaining a foothold in the north western states of Kano, Katsina, Jigawa, Kaduna, Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi because of the common  borders with Niger which have over 800 patients.

They noted  that  Nigeriens whose health status could not be ascertained had taken advantage of the closeness to the border Communities to  cross over  with ease  to these north western states to mix up with the people.  

The free movement between the people of the north western region of Nigeria and Niger is evident going by the recent revelation by the United Nations, High Commissioner For Refuges,UN HCR, that more than 23,000 persons in the region have been forced to seek safety and security in Niger in the last one month due to the violence in the region. ”This brings the total number of Nigerian Refuges in the neighbouring Niger between last year April and April , 2020, to 60,000”, the agency said.

The UN agency, in a Statement , had said that the latest influx of the Refuges from the north western part of the country who are mostly women and Children, follows the military attacks and air raids in Katsina, the President home state, and Zamfara during the month of April to clear the bandits operating in the two states.

The agency disclosed that it was working closely with the Niger Government to relocate 7,000 of the Refuges to Safety, in villages 20 Km away from the order Communities where water, food, shelter, access to health facilities and other essential assistance can be provided.

Some of these Refuges may ave taken advantage of being in Niger to mix up h with the Coronavirus Patients and then sneaked out out from the their Camp at the village close to the border Communities into the north western states major Towns, particular, Kano, Katsina, to mix up with the people.

Those who may have contacted the disease, without knowing it may have reached to other people, thus providing a veritable source for the disease to spread like wild fire in the region.

Recall that Bello Masari, a former Speaker of House of Representatives and now governor of Katsina state had declared a total lock down at Dusi-ma local government Area because of the discovery of a Coronavirus patient in the the local government Area.

It is not surprising why critics are insisting that the UN HCR, should be blamed for the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic in the north for relocating the Refuges in Niger close to the border Communities that may have given them the opportunity to escape to mix up with the people and thus, spread the disease in the north.

Stephen Ubanna

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