Following the second wave of the coronavirus in Nigeria which has resulted in a considerable spike in infections in Anambra State in the last two weeks, Governor Willie Obiano has made a passionate appeal to the people to shield themselves from the pandemic.
“Reports from across Anambra State show a huge increase in the incidence which if not arrested now will produce a catastrophic result in the near future”, Chief Obiano stated in a special message to ndi Anambra this afternoon, according to a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr C. Don Adinuba.
There are 80 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state since the second wave began two weeks ago, meaning an average of 40 cases per week. In contrast, the state used to record nine cases per week on average in the first wave.
The state government feared a big increase during the Christmas and New Year festivities because of millions of people coming into Anambra State from different parts of the country and beyond, so it began early enough to issue advisories on how to contain the second wave of the pandemic.
Despite the deaths of some high- profile Nigerians in the second wave of the pandemic like a former vice chancellor of Alex Ekwueme University in Ebonyi State, Professor Oye Ibidapo-Obe, who was also a former vice chancellor of the University of Lagos, noted Governor Obiano, “it is disheartening that there are people in Anambra State who doubt the Covid-19 is ravaging the country”.
Commissioner Adinuba quoted the governor as expressing embarrassment at some patients who “flout the Covid-19 protocols in the most unconscionable and callous manner.
“There are two persons who a few days ago came for testing and were confirmed to be positive. Instead of isolating themselves, they rejoined a wedding party and may have infected a number of people”.
While urging the people to go for tests and possible treatment which are still free in Anambra, unlike in some states where some private hospitals charge between five and ten million naira per patient for treatment only, Obiano commended the state’s COVID-19 Case Management Team for exceptional professionalism and competence.
“The team has not lost even one patient since the second wave. In fact, it did not lose a patient brought early enough for treatment. The 19 fatalities recorded in the state during the first wave were brought to our attention either when the persons were already or were too late for successful management”.
Commissioner Adinuba explained that the governor “is deeply worried about the trend because of the health and economic implications.
“Covid-19 is not just a health matter but, more importantly, a profound development challenge.
“It costs the authorities and individuals as well groups everywhere in the world a lot of financial resources to build testing centres and treatment centres and a lot of money to train the personnel to handle the situation. In Anambra State we train not just doctors, pharmacists, lab scientists and nurses in the management of COVID-19 but also ward cleaners and ambulance drivers because they also have a vital role in the value chain.
“There have been lockdowns in different jurisdictions of the world which brought untold hardship to people and businesses as well as governments, thereby arresting the pace of development”.
Chief Obiano advised the people to comply with such COVID-19 requirements as constant wearing of face masks which will cover their faces and noses, regular washing of hands regularly with running water and soap and keeping social distancing of two metres, so as to avoid a situation which can cause the authorities to impose heavy restrictions in the overriding public interest.
Though the combined capacity of isolation centres in the state, which are known as protective care centres, is 500 beds, only five out of the 5 COVID-19 patients in Anambra State are treated at home because patients prefer home treatment.
Meanwhile, the Anmabra State Commissioner for Health, Dr Vincent Okpala, has advised health professionals in the state to treat “every case of ‘malaria’ as COVID-19 until proved otherwise”.
This is because some people treated for malaria later turned out to be COVID-19 patients, in some cases discovered too late.
A key element in successful COVID-19 case management is early detection which results in early treatmemt.