Jigawa state gov’t is also not leaving any stone unturned in the fight against Covid-19. BAYO MUHAMMAD ALABIRA reports on efforts to checkmate the virus in the state.
It is longer a question of doubt but the question of how to curtail the high speed in which the Coronavirus is spreading among countries and nations across the globe. At present, the devastation among countries being ravaged by the pandemic is frightening because it has no cure world wide.
However, the question is no longer which country or nation is affected, but that the entire world is held hostage by the dreaded virus that has sent many family members to the great beyond as it has killed tens of thousands across the world including Nigeria.
Jigawa state, like other states in the federation, has taken serious measures with a view to curtailing the spread of the virus among its citizens. This is in line with measures taken by the states affected including those that are yet to record any victim. These measures are said to be the only option that can stop its spread among citizens.
What needs to be done
Addressing reporters as part of measures to be taken by everyone, Jigawa state commissioner for health, Dr Abba Zakari, said the measures are social distancing, washing of hands with soap and clean water or use of hand sanitisers and avoidance of public gatherings including weddings, naming ceremonies, prayers in mosques and churches and condolence visits. Other measures, he said, include closing of Islamic schools including Almajiri ‘Sangaya’, avoidance of hand shake and stay at home in order to curb the spread.
The commissioner further explained that the government has set up an 18-member committee comprising traditional rulers, religious and community leaders, civil society organisations (CSO), the media, security and staff of the Ministry of Health to be coordinated by himself.
In addition to these measures, he said a meeting of stakeholders was held in the ministry with the commissioners of information, finance and water resources. The stake holders include members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Okada Riders Association, religious leaders of both Ulamah and Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) leaders.
The level of preparedness
Blueprint gathered that the state government has already completed its readiness to receive victims of the pandemic even if it happens to occur unexpectedly. Dr Zakari said a special centre for victims has been set up and equipped with all neccesary facilities in Dutse.
“Governor Mohammed Badaru Abubakar has provided enough funds that was used to equip the centre at Danmasara Dutse, so that even if it can occur at any time, the state would not be taken unaware and victims would just be taken there, hospitalised, because everything is provided in accordance with the standard of National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC),” he stated.
The commissioner said if the victims are more than the Dutse Isolation Centre, aditional centres would be created in the three senatorial zones of the state in order to cater for them all. And still, if the need for more centres arise, he said the 3Star Hotel in Dutse would be converted into a special centre where more victims could be isolated.
Recently too, the health and information commissioners accompanied by the visiting NCDC officials, CSOs, media practitioners, traditional rulers and other stakeholders were at the centre and confirmed that the centre was ready for use anytime; therefore, the work in the centre has been completed and ready for use.
Measures so far taken
So far, a lot of measures to contain the pandemic were already taken, for instance, the state government has evolved some additional measures including shutting down all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs). This was in line with the presidential task force.
Also, more safety measures were announced after the state executive council meeting presided by Governor Badaru himself. Authenticating the decision arrived at during the meeting, the Head of Service, Alhaji Husseini Killa, announced a two-weeks stay at home order which means civil servants have to be working from their various homes in order to protect the workers from being infected by the virus.
According to the Head of Service, the decision became neccesary in order to curb the menace which is already pandemic. However, the head of service excluded some MDAs saying, “The order include all ministries, departments and agencies, with the exception of Ministries of Health, Finance, Water resources as well as pension and salary as all their staff have to remain in their various offices in case of emergencies.”
Limiting visits to public places
The head of COVID-19 taskforce in the state, Dr Zakari said considering the magnanimity of the problem, something urgent need to be done to avoid being taken unawares by the pandemic judging from the disturbing death toll that accompany the disease.
“That is why only one patient attendant is allowed to stay with a patient on admission in all the health facilities in the state henceforth. People are warned to stay away from hospitals and any other health facility where victims of this deadliest disease may be taken to, if it happen to occur, but God forbid. At the moment, we don’t have even a single case. So people should not be visiting hospitals anyhow as it used to be the case. If it is not neccesary don’t go,” he warned.
He explained that all the visits to patients are suspended until further notice saying the decision was taken unanimously to protect the patients and health workers themselves and reduce the chances of COVID-19 transmission to the larger crowd. With this measures, he said, all health facilities and major public places are to be sanitised.
Health commissioner speaks further
Dr Zakari added that all the medical doctors from the state general hospitals and primary healthcare managers operating in all the 27 LGAs were sensitised and trained on self prevention, clinical management of patients with COVID-19 with a view to avoid being infected while on their assignments. He said they were taught how to handle delicate cases and how to calm the patients where neccesary.Blueprint investigation reveals that in markets, sanitising points are provided at entry and exit points to avoid contracting the virus.
Dr Zakari said further that going to the market itself, is not proper unless it becomes neccesary to buy food stuff and other items that are neccesity otherwise it should be avoided.
“At the motor parks, passengers should be observant; they should not be parked together like animals as it used to be; rather, they must be arranged with spaces in between. And anybody observed to be coughing at the motor park should not be allowed to travel with other perssengers in the same vehicle.
“Our attention must be drawn to such a person immediately to avoid infecting other travellers”, he also emphasised.
To prevent the state from being taken unaware, its land borders with neighboring Bauchi, Yobe, Katsina states and others were closed following the outbreak in Bauchi recently. Even though the borders with other states were shut down, movement of people is not restricted within the state.
On his part, the information, sports and culture commissioner, Muhammed Alhassan, who always supervised the desimination of information about the pandemic, said the state government has taken serious measures to curb the menace as well as cushion the effects, saying because of that, hand sanitisers were being distrited to the general public and other public places as precautionary measures.
Speaking to Blueprint, one Adamu Musa said he was more than convinced that the disease is a reality. “In fact, from what I have been hearing, in China, Italy, America, these are the most powerful and developed nations in the world but the disease is ravaging them like the way animals feed on fresh grasses. We have to protect ourselves by abibing by all directives from the medical people.”