COVID-19: NCDC boss Lauds Ganduje’s commitment …..As Dangote’s Mobile Testing Centre Arrives Kano
By Abdulyassar Abdulhamid
Impressed with the measures the state government has taken to stem the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, the Director General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, commended the Governor Ganduje’s commitment in the fight against the disease.
The NCDC boss expressed fear that the govenor will wear himself out, urging him to take a break to keep fit.
The governor has been up and doing to ensure the state government brings the situation under control.
This was disclosed dthroufh a press statement signed by the governor Chief Press Secretary, Malam Abba Anwar, on Sunday.
Ihekweazu said: “Your Excellency I want you to understand that, this is a Marathon. So please do not exhaust yourself. I see that you are always in the field every day driving the response, together with His Excellency the Deputy Governor. We must all preserve ourselves.”
Dr Ihekweazu made this request at the official presentation of the Mobile Testing Centre, donated by the Chairman Dangote Foundation, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, held at Muhammadu Buhari Specialist Hospital, Giginyu, Kano, Sunday.
The NCDC Boss added: “You can see every other country struggling. So we have to keep ourselves fit, to maintain the Marathon as it proceeds.”
Speaking on the way forward in the state pandemic position, he said: “I want assure you that by the time we hear from the findings of Dr Nasiru Sani Gwarzo’s team from the Presidential Task Force, for the days they have been here, we will have more solutions that we will use in solving the problems from Kano.”
However, Ihekweazu thanked Mr Dangode for the donation, saying, “We are grateful for this Nigeria’s solution to bring the private sector funding, private sector implementation to save the public sector in the country. That is our strength. To bring all different partners together. I will continue building on that strength.”
He, therefore, promised and assured the governor and people of Kano state that NCDC and the entire country would always be there for the state.
He added: “I was here 10 days ago. I left promising you that, I would mobilize every possible resource available to us. And when I said ‘us’ I don’t mean the federal government. No. Every resource in the country, that would support the work that you are doing.
“I know sometimes in the eyes of the public it seems slow. But our work is diligent. And some of it is better to be slow and diligent. Than fast and you make mistake. Everybody in the country is behind you. I just want you and the people of Kano to understand that we have not left you. We are behind you hundred percent.”
To further encourage the state response against COVID-19 the NCDC Boss disclosed that what they were doing was to make sure that every day they can mobilize on the Lab, on emergency response, surveillance, IPC materials and all other aspects of the response.
He stated: “We are mobilizig our resources to line up behind you. Behind the structure you have put in place. Behind the leadership of your response. And this is what my commitment is continuing doing. So even if you don’t see me in Kano everyday I will like you to know that we are behind you.”
Presentating the donation, the state the Head of Dangote Foundation, Hajiya Zuwaira Yusuf, said: “Aliko Dangote Foundation will continue to support Kano that has this COVID-19 crisis. As you know we are part of the Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19. And this is an addition to what we are doing. As Kano situation escalates Alhaji Aliko said we should do something immediately. We are thankful to the DG NCDC for his efforts in this direction.”
The capacity of the Mobile Testing Centre according to her, is 400 per day, with an increase to 1,000 per day in the next two weeks, adding that, “In addition to this, we are also donating 10 Ambulances and other materials specifically for Kano state,” she concluded.
In his response Governor Ganduje said: “There is no doubt that Kano is in trouble. And there is no doubt that we started on a shaky foundation. When samples were taken to Abuja for 7 hours and came back again in 7 hours, that was the shaky foundation I am talking about. We are very grateful for the Dangote Foundation.
“We then lodged our complaint to President Muhammadu Buhari, who ordered for the establishment of a Testing Centre at Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH), which after taking-off then was shut down for some days if not weeks. That was what escalated the transmission of the disease up to community transmission. When numbers mounted again.
“Bayero University, Kano Testing Centre that has the capacity of about 200 samples per day and now with the coming of Dangote Mobile Testing Centre of 400 samples capacity, we are making a head way in facing the crisis squarely,” Ganduje assured.
Ganduje assured that with the 3 Testing Centres in the state the prevalence of the disease in the state would be curtailed gradually. Maintaining that, ” This shows that we must intensify our efforts to take samples. We must create more areas to take samples.”
The state government according to Ganduje would make sure that in all the 36 rural local governments of the state, there is atleast a Sample Collection Centre. While in the 8 metropolitan local governments, hundreds of Collections Centres come up.
He however commended Dangote for the good gesture, he assured that the facility would be put to good use observing all the protocols.
On the mass deaths in the state, governor Ganduje reiterated that, “We know frequent deaths took place in the state and death is still taking place. We put in place three strategies with the team from the federal government, for us to have a scientific explanation of the deaths. We are assuring all that very soon we will come to know scientific reasons for the deaths.”