Wednesday, April 15, 2020 3:02 pm
As the world is upbeat in preparations against the Covid-19 pandemic with President Buhari announcing an extension of total lockdown in some areas, there is no functional isolation centre against the outbreak in Kogi State. Although the state is yet to record any case of the virus, it has border with ten states and the FCT, nine of which have active cases of the pandemic.
At the beginning of the global threat in Nigeria, Kogi was among the frontline states to announce measures against its spread. Governor Yahaya Bello promptly designated two isolation centres and inaugurated a 29-man squadron headed by his Deputy, Edward Onoja on the pandemic. The government also closed down schools and restricted other social activities.
The two designated isolation centres for suspects of the disease namely FAREC Clinic and the Diagnostic Centre of the State Specialist Hospital are however in complete State of disuse. When TheNews visited FAREC Clinic Monday, it was in a state of delapidation and not equipped for any emergency on the breakout of the pandemic.
Farec clinic is not equipped with medical facilities. The place is completed abandoned with no signs of recent usage. Part of the ceiling of its waiting room had removed with the building begging for renovation.
The situation at the Diagnostic Centre was not better. The gate was under lock with few petty traders operating outside it’s premises. No medical personnel was seen around the two centres.
A source at the Specialist Hospital who preferred not to be named said the Diagnostic Centre was an ongoing project not yet in use. He said no activities has taken place in recent times.
There are fears that the operation of the Covid-19 Committee may have been affected by shortage of funds.
Mr Idris Miliki, a Lokoja based social crusader and Executive Director, Conscience for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution, Tuesday called on the governor to facilitate release of funds to boost efforts to keep covid-19 out of the State.
“It is disturbing, that since the composition of this important committee and its inauguration, the State Government is yet to release Money and materials for the committee to commence substantive activities and setup genuine isolation and testing centres across the State, as there are no equipment purchase by the State Government. Why did the State Governor refuse to release money for the committee to function effectively?
“The so called isolation centre at FAREC CLINIC is a shadow of its self, as it lacks modern equipment to carry-out all these important assignment.
Miliki called on the Governor to immediately make money available for the covid-19 outbreak.
Efforts to speak with Kingsley Fanwo the Commissioner for Information and a member of the Covid-19 squadron were not successful. He did not respond to questions sent to him on the matter.