Coronavirus outbreak: how Okorocha prepared IMO for possible health emergencies

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ONWUASOANYA FCC JONES

As Nigeria belatedly joins the rest of the world to take actions towards protecting its citizenry against the Covid-19 pandemic, few States of the Federation seem to have the necessary facilities in place to tackle a possible spread of the virus in the country.

The incident in Enugu where an elderly lady who was originally suspected of suffering from the disease died from what her daughter insist is negligence on the part of the government. Part of this negligence is the poor state of the facility where the woman was isolated. In Lagos, too, there was an uproar on social media when a picture of an isolation center propped up online. Commentators decried the poor state of that facility and these outcries led to the government making emergency arrangements to transfer the patients to a more conducive facility in the country.

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Across the nation, there may be few States that can truthfully boast of better health infrastructure than Imo State, and this is to the credit of the Rescue Mission administration led by His Excellency Senator Owelle Rochas Okorocha, who throughout his eight years tenure as governor, prioritized on policies and programs that would be most beneficial to the populace.

As audacious as Okorocha's construction of 27 Specialist Hospitals across the 27 LGAs of the State was, the current situation in the world has justified that decision. While it must be acknowledged that some of those hospitals are yet to be fully equipped, but what cannot be denied is the fact that these hospitals are better than most facilities in the country and could serve as very conducive isolation centers and even treatment centers for the pandemic.

Outside these 27 hospitals, Okorocha's administration also initiated and fully completed other health facilities in the State. Also, the 1000 bed Mother and Child Hospital and the Somtoochukwu Hospital in Owerri are very good facilities that can help, not just the Imo State government, but the federal government in responding faster and more efficiently to efforts needed to curtail the spread of the Coronavirus.

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Footnote: My personal prayer and wish is that the cases of Coronavirus in the country stall at just the confirmed eight people who have tested positive. No matter how prepared we are and no matter the facilities we have in place, we cannot be more prepared than China, UK, Italy and other top countries of the world who are presently devastated by the virus.

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