Borno state strengthens measures to prevent COVID-19 outbreak
Maiduguri, 21 March 2020 - “The vulnerability of population in Borno state coupled with the confirmation of outbreaks of COVID-19 in other parts of Nigeria, has necessitated the setting up of a special task force to step up and expand the spectrum of prevention and control activities in the state,” says Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, the Governor of Borno State.
He further reiterated that “It has become urgent and essential to up our guards against COVID-19 in the state, in view of the vulnerability of our people to disease outbreaks due to the ongoing crisis which has caused enormous internal displacements, loss of jobs and devastation of the health system strengthening.”
In preparedness for prevention and control of COVID-19 outbreak in the state, the state government has inaugurated a 25-man Task Force to coordinate and fast-track state-wide activities geared towards preventing an outbreak and response if it occurs.
The Borno Special Task Force is expected to mobilize partners including private sector partners, Faith-Based Organizations, civil societies, donors and military and para-military organizations, UN agencies, INGOs and NGOs to contain, control and manage the outbreak if it occurs.
As part of its strategic activities, the Deputy Governor, Alhaji Usman Kadafur and chairman of the Task Force led the team on physical inspection of prevention protocols at the Maiduguri international airport where he presented himself for temperature screening. The team also inspected the readiness of the isolation center at the Abba Kyari memorial hospital in Maiduguri. “Borno state government will leave no stone unturned to ensure that vulnerable populations including IDPs and members of the host communities are protected from COVID-19,” Alhaji Kadafur assured.
At the inauguration of the Task Force, the World Health Organization (WHO) Emergency Manager for the north-east Nigeria, Dr Collins Owili urged the State to provide required oversight and adequate financial support in implementing planned prevention and response activities as most donor countries including UK, Germany and USA are also battling the scourge of COVID-19.
He said, “While WHO and partners are committed to providing technical as well as financial support to Borno to prevent or respond to outbreak of COVID-19, I urge the State government to scale up its financial commitment to implement planned activities for prevention and response of COVID-19.
WHO is committed to leading other health sector partners to provide the State with required technical support to develop and implement robust surveillance, risk communication, case management and logistics for COVID-19 prevention and response,” Dr Owili added.
As at 22 March, the Federal Ministry of Health announced that there are 27 confirmed cases in Lagos (19), Federal Capital Territory (4), Ogun (2), Ekiti(1) and Oyo (1). Of the confirmed cases, two have been discharged and there is no death recorded.
Dr Okudo Ifeanyi; Email: okudoi [at] who.int;Tel: +234 803 402 0833
Dr Chima Onuekwe; Email: onuekwec [at] who.int; Tel:+234 803 535 4876