BENIN CITY – Starting today, Monday, Edo State Government is embarking on an enlightenment and sensitization programm to educate the people on the deadly Corona Virus Disease (COVID 19). The programm is expected to be carried out at all the entry points into the State, airport, land borders and water.
The sensitization process apart from stepping into motor parks would also see health practitioners walk the streets, crowded places and worship centres to educate on the Corona Virus Disease (COVID 19). They are expected to share fliers to the people and carry out random screening to watch out for symptoms such as acute coughing, catarrh and sneezing and other related symptoms associated with breathing difficulty with a touch of fever/running high temperature. These health officials are under strict instruction to watch out for those with symptoms to be quarantined for immediate care.
Speaking against the backdrop of the recent confirmation of a male Italian testing positive to the dreaded Corona Virus in Lagos on February 25, 2020, a disease whose death toll could take an epidemic scale if left unchecked, Edo State Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu in a round table meeting with medical practitioners in his office, reminded them of their duty of saving lives, calling on them to go all out, outside their comfort zone, hitting the masses with timely requisite information on the virus to scale down possible casualty rate if per chance, the virus makes it to Edo State.
Interfacing with the medical practitioners drawn from Edo State Ministry of Health, Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, representative of the World Health Organization as well as two German health partners who updated on the German attempt at creating vaccines that could eliminate viral diseases, Shaibu urged the health practitioners to sensitive the people and run screenings at points of entry at the Benin Airport and motor parks to curb any possible spread of infection.
He observed that the move was expedient and strategic given the mobility of Edo people as well as the fact that many Edo State indigenes are based in Italy. He said the State government has contacted relevant Federal Government agencies for the airline manifest boarded by the Italian.
He insisted that the health practitioners undertake a sensitization to update the public on the symptoms, possible means of contacting the viral infection and the need for general cleanliness. He also used the opportunity to interact with them to determine their level of preparedness, especially the Irrua Specialist Hospital as a certified center for Disease Control in Nigeria.
Permanent Secretary, Edo State Ministry of Health, Dr. Osamwonyi Irowa briefed the meeting on the interventions the ministry has put in place which include the need to print some Information pamphlets, Education and Communication (IEC) materials such to be used as tools for knowledge transfer to targeted audience.
Edo State Coordinator, World Health Organization, Mrs Faith Ireye assured of the readiness to partner with the state through the IEC materials and the sensitization process while the Chief Medical Director, Irrua Specialist Hospital, (ISTH) Dr. Sylvanus Okogbenin gave details on the fight against Lassa fever, partnership with the coalition for epidemic preparedness initiative (CEPI) on capacity and technology transfer as well as its planned clinical trials in Etsako West, Esan West and Esan North-East from May, 2020 to help with the design of a vaccine.
CMD, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, (UBTH) Professor Darlington Obaseki spoke of the UBTH experience, calling on government to provide medical consumables, hand sanitizers and most importantly drive down and possibly start the production of face masks whose prices are soaring on the world scale due to the high demands this time.