By Temitope Adedeji, Akure
The Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu has commissioned the State Public Health and Molecular Laboratories as well as the Public Health Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) for better response and containment of COVID -19.
The commissioning which was part of activities lined up for the 2nd term inauguration of the Governor and his Deputy, Arakunrin Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa took place at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Akure.
The Governor who said the State recorded 2,993 cases and 57 deaths, added that the State rose up to the containment of the pandemic, using multidimensional approaches based on time-tested principles.
Some of the highlighted steps include; Massive Public Awareness Campaigns, partial and total lockdown to reduce the risk of transmission, mass production and distribution of Nose Masks,upgrading and support of State Surveillance system with additional operational vehicles, establishment of Isolation and treatment Centres across the three senatorial districts of the State, equipping and putting to functional use the Infectious Disease Hospital where hundreds of patients have been successfully managed and discharged.
Despite all these steps, in his words, low capacity of testing due to the unavailability of functional and accredited Laboratories to run highly technical tests was a major challenge that faced the State as well as the country at large.
Arakunrin Akeredolu further added that to elicit the better response in the containment of the pandemic, his administration resolved to address the situation headlong by establishing Laboratories which is now a dream come true.
He said with the Public Health Lab. which has been accredited by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, the Molecular Lab and another State of the art Molecular Lab with greater capacity at UNIMED, which will be ready in the next few weeks, there will be an improvement in efficiency in testing for the Covid 19 virus at a greatly reduced turnaround time.
The Governor announced that the operational base for the coordination of all public health emergencies in the State be named after the late Commissioner for Health, Dr Wahab Adegbenro who died at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19.
He appreciated partners, Health Workers and individuals who joined hands with the government to put the pandemic at bay, during the first wave while appealing that all hands must be on deck to fight the disease to a standstill in the 2nd wave of the pandemic.
In his goodwill message, the Chairman Inter-Ministerial Committee COVID 19 and Vice-Chancellor UNIMED, Prof. Adesegun Fatusi placed on record the indebtedness of the Inter Ministerial Committee on Covid 19 and the Covid 19 Response Fund to the Governor for his commitment and passion that saw the State make great achievement in the containment of Covid-19.
He commended the Visionary and motivative approach of the governor in involving the private sector to lend the government a helping hand as no government can do it alone.
He disclosed that apart funds released by the government, the funds generated by the Covid 19 Response Fund assisted the State in expanding the Infectious Disease Hospital, establish Isolation Centres in the three Senatorial Districts as well as establishment of Testing Centers.
Prof. Fatusi thanked Agro Traders Limited for donating over 100m Naira for the Covid 19 response and like Oliver Twist, asked them to do more.
The Deputy Director National Centre for Disease Control, Alhaji Tajudeen Arowolo who represented his Director-General, applauded the effort of Mr governor in the containment of the pandemic.
He commended the prompt release of funds and the setting up of various response committees which the NCDC only came to complement.
While also commending the establishment of the Laboratories and the Emergency Operation Centre, Alhaji Arowolo promised that his organisation will deploy it’s rapid response team to give technical support.
The Secretary Covid 19 Response Fund, Mr Babajide Akeredolu said apart from Lagos state, the State’s Response Fund, raised the second-highest funds in the country.
He also disclosed that Agro Traders limited was the highest Donor and that the donation was done as part of their 30th-anniversary celebration.
While thanking them and asking for more, Babajide Akeredolu listed some items donated by Agro traders limited to include; the Testing Lab., Ventilators, Patient Monitors amongst others.
Earlier in his welcome remark, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health, Dr Dipo Durojaiye commended the governor for the political will and attention given to the health sector which he said is responsible for the great achievement being recorded.