Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, today, Sunday, 19th April, 2020, received on courtesy call the Director General of the National Centre for Disease Control NCDC Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu at Government House, Asaba.
Speaking at the meeting, Dr. Ihekweazu commended the Delta State Government for its efforts so far at containing the spread of the Corona virus in the state.
Dr Ihekweazu who was accompanied by Dr. Fiona Braka Fiona, Officer in Charge, World Health Organization (WHO), Nigeria Country Office, said they were in Delta to assess the State’s response to the pandemic, discuss ways to ramp up testing of residents, and begin post lockdown plans and while commending Governor Okowa, noted that the ability of the state to record such few cases was due to its deliberate but concerted efforts and urged the state to keep it up.
He further added that their mission in the state was also to get first hand information on the activities and challenges of the Delta State Emergency Operation Committee with a view to giving technical support to help address them.
Earlier, the Delta Commissioner for Health, Dr Mordi Ononye, in his address, welcomed the Director General and his entourage and appreciated NCDC and WHO for their technical and other assistance to the state so far.
After a closed door meeting, the team embarked on a field visit to the COVID 19 holding and treatment centers at the Federal Medical Center, and Asaba Specialist Hospital both in Asaba.
NCDC Boss, Dr. Ihekweazu, (l) Gov. Okowa (m) and Delta State Comm. For Health Dr. Mordi Onoye (r) in Govt House Asaba, during the NCDC DG’s visit to Delta State
Speaking with members of the press after the facility-tour, Dr Ihekweazu stressed that the role of NCDC was to encourage and support states on their preparedness to curb the spread of the virus.
He stated that the role of NCDC is to serve the whole country, help prepare for the worst and at the same time hope for the best.
On the case of every state being potentially affected, the NCDC boss said ‘Borders are drawn for political reasons in order to provide governance for people and bacterias and viruses don’t recognize such.’
On her part, Dr Fiona Braka, Officer in Charge, WHO, Country Office, Nigeria appealed to Deltans to remain vigilant saying the risks were still very high.
According to her, ‘We are here to ensure that what is recommended globally, we contextualize it to the country level looking at capacities and risks and scale up this process in a manner that the capacity in country can manage.
“Working with NCDC to see how we can ramp up this process, certainly Delta will be among those states that will be critically looked up for testing capacity,” she added.
Confirming the meeting with the NCDC boss on his verified social media handles, Governor Okowa wrote: “As we work to combat the #COVID19 pandemic at both the state and federal levels, this evening, it was a pleasure to receive Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in Asaba.
“The purpose of his visit was to assess the State’s response to the pandemic, discuss ways to ramp up testing of residents, and begin post lockdown plans.
“I thank the federal government and the NCDC for their support, and we look forward to fighting this pandemic and building a stronger and more secure future for all our people, together”.