My Fellow AKWAIBOMITES
I bring you greetings and urge that we continue to stand in faith in the face of the global pandemic which has shaken the world to its foundations.
You may have read a rash of mischievous information peddled by certain media platforms on the status of the Corona virus (COVID-19) in our State.
I want to assure the public that the rumours and false information going around on social media are completely false. For emphasis, let me state here unequivocally that there is no confirmed case of COVID-19 disease in Akwa Ibom State as I speak to you. As a matter of fact, the measures put in place at our airport is comprehensive and has no parallel anywhere in West Africa.
In our usual proactive stance, I had, weeks ago, given the Honourable Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dominic Ukpong the marching order to be on top of the issue and an Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Task Force was immediately set up. This was even before the first confirmed case of Corona Virus in Nigeria was recorded.
Some of the actions initiated include:
1. Creating awareness
a. Through the media, both print and electronic, jingles to sensitize the residents with relevant information on COVID-19 infection are ongoing in the State in English, pidgin and local dialects.
b. Sensitization and awareness campaigns have been taken to nooks and crannies of the State, notably, Local Government Offices, Traditional Institutions, Religious bodies, educational institutions, Public and Private hospitals.
2. Surveillance, prevention and infection control measures have been instituted in our hospitals:
a. Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) have been
distributed to all health facilities to facilitate infection prevention and control.
b. Other screening and infection materials have been
procured and are being distributed to health facilities and other strategic locations in the State. These include Infra-red thermometers, hand sanitizers etc.
3. Screening has been instituted at various entry points to the State. Training and intensive enlightenment awareness seminar sessions were also conducted in these areas. Functional ambulances and rapid response teams are on standby to move suspected or confirmed cases, if any, to the Emergency Operation Centre at Ikot Ekpene. The Emergency Operation and Treatment Centre (EOC), in Ikot Ekpene is ready to serve as an isolation/treatment centre to receive, and care for any confirmed case of COVID-19 infection if it occurs. We are also monitoring other entry point to the State.
4. The State Ministry of Health is in constant communication with National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Directorate of Public Health Services has received sample collection kits from NCDC and are updating the management of the Ministry on, global, national and State COVID-19 data and information daily.
However, I want to advise that we should all continue to observe the simple rules of Personal and Respiratory Hygiene:
a. Regular hand washing with soap under running water.
b. Use of hand sanitizer where there is no water.
c. Coughing/sneezing into a disposable tissue paper or the cuff of the elbow where no tissue is available and proper disposal of the used tissue.
d. Put on a mask if you cannot properly move away from any person with those symptoms and or give the person a mask to wear.
It is also important to observe SOCIAL DISTANCING, avoid hand shaking, and keep at least six feet away from anyone who is sneezing or coughing.
I would like to remind you of some symptoms of the infection which include: Fever, cough, sore throat, difficulty in breathing, generally feeling unwell (malaise), common cold (catarrh or runny nose, sneezing, cough).
Anyone with these symptoms should self-isolate and invite our Emergency Response Team for assessment and follow-up. WE encourage you to report members of your family or friends with these symptoms to the Ministry of Health. Your report will be held and treated with absolute confidentiality. The Ministry of Health has already provided the emergency telephone numbers for you to contact the State’s emergency team at any time of the day.
Finally, I want to appeal to our people, especially the gentlemen of the press to exercise utmost caution and deep sense of rationality and reflection in the manner you report this Global pandemic. There is no redeeming value in causing panic in the State; there is nothing to be gained by misinforming the public. This disease has no political coloration. It does not and will not spare those to be infected along political lines; therefore, we should put aside our political affiliations and tackle this issue as an existential threat.
Given the measures aforestated, it is our belief that there is no need to shut down our public schools, which are supposed to close in a week’s time.
I urge you to go about your normal duties.
Thank you and God bless.