FIGHTING COVID-19: THE EBONYI STATE EXAMPLE
The Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi deserves a gold medal for his proactivity in preparing for and tackling the coronavirus pandemic months before it hit his state. It would be recalled that when the first coronavirus case was reported in Lagos, Umahi quickly mobilized for the establishment of the COVID-19 Centre to quell the scourge.
Just hours after the index case of the virus was announced in Lagos state on February 28, 2020, Governor Umahi went to work immediately as he commenced work to upgrade the Specialist hospital at the Unity Square Abakaliki, into a COVID-19 isolation and treatment hospital.
He did this by collaborating with the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) which he invited to also set up a virology center at the hospital. The hospital thus became the 6th center in Nigeria designated for the testing of COVID-19. Ebonyi state presently serves the whole of the South-East and South-South states. The state was also among the first few to put in place and enforce strict movement and social-distancing guidelines and only recently also made the wearing of facemasks compulsory for all citizens.
Ebonyi recorded its index case almost 2 months later (April 27, 2020), following the meticulous preparation. This is after testing 75 suspected coronavirus cases which turned out negative. This is also, in addition to testing for suspected cases brought in from the catchment areas. Umahi has been doggedly determined to stop and contain the spread of coronavirus in his state and so far, his efforts have yielded salutary results.
Corporate bodies like the United Bank for Africa PLC have thus far supported the proactivity of the Ebonyi State Governor on the COVID19 scourge and other diseases in the state even as it pledged continued support to the state government.
The branch controller of the Bank, Mr. Sam Agbo recently eulogized Governor Umahi’s timely response to the malaise and said that the move should attract appropriate support by all kind-hearted organizations; this he said informed the donation of the sum of twenty-eight million and five hundred thousand naira by the Abakaliki branch of the bank.
According to the UBA manager, Governor Umahi has demonstrated the capacity to handle the scourge hence the support to ensure all necessary materials are provided to mitigate the scourge as part of its corporate social responsibility. He said “With the effort, the state government is making, I believe we will fight this scourge. I want to assure you here that the United Bank for Africa is committed to partnering with the government that will ensure your response to the pandemic is swift and effective”.
Even the Chairman of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), Pastor Eze Nwachukwu Eze, has heaped accolades on Governor Dave Umahi for setting a good example in the fight against COVID-19. He said “We want to commend the state government on the closure of the borders in Ebonyi state. This has really worked very well and we are in support of it. We encourage them to close the borders even tighter until the COVID-19 era is over”.
Governor Dave Umahi, whose impressive records in provision of global best infrastructures and progressive agriculture development programs have been well celebrated, is adding yet another feather to his cap as an effective health crisis manager and leader. It is hoped that other governors who are not up to speed with managing the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic and other health-related challenges will take a cue from Ebonyi state whose tiny budget belies its many achievements under governor Dave Umahi.