By Onome Oghenetega
The Governor Ifeanyi Okowa-led administration has come under attack over its failure to build testing centres across the state for suspected cases of the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.
A pan Isoko group, Isoko Monitoring Group (IMG), which decried the development while expressing reservation over the state’s preparedness to tackle the spread of the disease, said the absence of a testing centre in a state is shameful.
Delta already recorded six confirmed cases of the coronavirus since its outbreak with one death and five active patients.
According to a statement by its spokesman, Dr. Kingsley Oroh, IMG charged the government to do more to save the lives of Deltans in the face of the pandemic.
The group said it is unacceptable for samples of suspected cases of COVID-19 to be taken to Edo State for test
It said, “It is no longer news that the most dreaded viral infection of our time, COVID-19, which has placed the entire world on a standstill, has gained its way into our beloved state.
“While we want to commend the government for the lockdown, the dusk to dawn curfew and its food bank initiative, IMG want to state categorically that more need to be done if we must save the lives of our people and restore normalcy to our dear state.
“For instance, it is quite unfortunate, irresponsible, unwholesome and unfair for a state as rich as Delta with a population of over 5 million people not to have put together a highly sophisticated COVID-19 testing Centres across the state. How do we survive this deadly pandemic as a state under such circumstances?
“Transporting samples of COVID-19 to Edo State for testing is inappropriate and totally unacceptable especially given that since the index case was reported in China and in many countries across Europe and America, Delta state had more than 60 days to have been prepared for this war against Covid-19 and procurement of testing facilities should have been prioritized. This must be corrected and fast
“To survive COVID-19, we need to take testing very important and serious. So that patients of the novel coronavirus can be attended to on time to avoid spread of the virus.”
On the alleged maltreatment of patients of coronavirus, the Isoko group warned against human rights abuses by caregivers at the various isolation centres in the state.
“Additionally, there is serious need for the government to prioritize the health and welfare of reported coronavirus patients. We have received alarming reports that suggested poor and inhumane treatment of patients. We outrightly condemn cases of human rights abuse of coronavirus patients.
“The patients must not be made to feel worthless and hopeless. The Healthcare workers should be educated and admonished to be professional in their conducts, as their actions and inactions will work on the psychology of patients which could either make them stronger to defeat COVID-19 or give up on life.
“Attitudes that lead to the latter must be avoided and strongly discouraged. Meal, medication and needed attention as well as encouragement should be given to patients when it is needed. This is how to win this war not through professional negligence or what have you.
“May we also advise the government to as a matter of public health provide necessary data such as local government areas where cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed to the general public.
“This will go a long way to reawaken the consciousness of Deltans to strictly observe preventive measures and guidelines given by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). Such information will also help Deltans to obey the lockdown ordered by the state government and understand the importance of staying at home during this critical period.
“Conclusively, we want to appreciate all our frontline health workers and security officers, who are putting their lives on the line to save the lives of Deltans. Your efforts are well appreciated. We urge the government to as a matter of urgency provide sufficient protective kits for these persons and also prioritize their welfare. Their allowances at this critical time should be increased as a way of encouragement and motivation to serve our dear State”, the statement added.