The Honourable Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora has commissioned a newly completed Infectious Disease Treatment Centre as well as a Molecular Laboratory, both located at Federal Medical Centre, Jalingo.
Dr. Mamora commissioned these facilities on 5th of February, 2021 counting them as additional landmark achievements and attributing these to the vision of the President, Muhammadu Buhari for the attainment of excellence in the area of healthcare. He said the President had put in place all necessary tools in response to the COVID-19 pandemic starting from the establishment of the Presidential Taskforce team, to the foot soldiers from the Federal Ministry of Health and its agencies as well as other pillars involved in case management in the fight against the pandemic.
Dr. Mamora revealed that at the onset of the pandemic, Nigeria had just four molecular laboratories “but as at today, we have close to 120 Molecular laboratories.” He stated that the most important aspect of patient management is prompt diagnosis and early treatment expressing regrets that a lot of lives have been lost during this pandemic because people were not sure of what they were treating. The Honourable Minister stated that some people assumed that they had malaria when in reality what they had was COVID-19, “but because they never presented themselves to be tested and diagnosed; unfortunately we lost them.”
The Minister of State commended the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for the hard work put in place to bring the Infectious Disease Center to fruition. The Centre, he said will also be used for isolation of patients with COVID-19.
The Minister said that cases of Lassa fever which afflicts people in some parts of the State will also be diagnosed and managed at the newly built laboratory and the infectious disease wards, separating them from other patients on admission.
Dr. Mamora applauded the State Government for its collaboration and cooperation with the Federal Government in the management and response activities of the pandemic while assuring the people of Government’s commitment in the fight against the pandemic particularly as Nigeria moves to having the vaccines available which will be a life-saving remedy for its people. This he said, is what the Government owes its citizens in terms of heath security.
Earlier, the Minister of State for Health, on arrival at Taraba State visited the State Governor, Darius Dickson Ishaku to intimate him with the purpose of his visit. The Governor who expressed gratitude to the visiting team seized the opportunity to appeal to the Federal Minister to intervene in the issue of Hepatitis in his State. The Governor stated that a lot of money has been spent on efforts to contain hepatitis and called for same support received from the Ministry in the fight against COVID-19, in tackling this dangerous disease which the Governor described as “a silent killer.” This assistance he said will prevent the people from early death.
The Governor went further to suggest to the Minister, that the various FMCs in the country be categorized and made to specialize in the treatment of a particular disease, which they could be known for. This he said will enable Nigerians go to access adequate care and treatment for various conditions.
At the commissioning of the projects, the State Governor, who was represented by the Commissioner of Health Dr. Innocent Vakkai stated that the commissioning of the projects is a welcome development which will go a long way in complementing its effort in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and Lassa fever scourge experienced in the State.
He revealed that his administration has always given priority attention to the health of its citizens. He further informed that the State healthcare infrastructure is being given massive facelift through stage by stage renovation and upgrading of general hospitals to provide qualitative and efficient healthcare services.
Dr. Vakkai charged the management and staff of FMC Jalingo to ensure that the structures commissioned are put to optimal use for the people of the State and for humanity in general.
The Director General of the NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu who was present to officially handover the Infectious Disease Treatment Centre to FMC Jalingo said the project is part of NCDC’s strategy to ensure that all States in Nigeria have a standard treatment centre for infectious disease management. “NCDC is committed to building functional and sustainable structures that will strengthen our national health security.” The COVID-19 pandemic he said, has challenged us greatly, but has also provided us clarity on what we need to do to secure our future.
Dr. Ihekweazu said the pandemic came with a lot of challenges, further stretching an already over-stretched health system. “However, this has presented us with the opportunity to reflect, and work together to improve preparedness and strengthen the health security infrastructure in the country. Initiatives such as this new treatment centre will ensure we are better prepared for the next pandemic.”
Present to witness the event were the State Government’s Officials, Royal Fathers, Barr. Okey Ezea the Board Chairman of FMC Jalingo, Prof. Auwal Abubakar, the Medical Director of FMC, Yola, Members of the Board of Management of FMC Jalingo, the representative of the Director, Hospital Services in Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH), Dr. Paul Kwetishe, other officials from the FMoH and NCDC amongst others.
By Blessing Efem
Signed: Nwokike Brendan
Head (Press & Public Relations)
5th February 2021