By Stanley Onyekwere
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has said that it may be compelled to reopen all closed COVID-19 isolation and treatment centres, if there is upsurge in number of confirmed infected cases in the Territory.
Making this assertion at the weekend, the FCTA’s Permanent Secretary , Mr. Olusade Adesola disclosed that there are about 42 patients currently on admission at Gwagwalada treatment centre, 46 patients at the ThisDay Dome, and zero case at the Idu Centre.
Recall that following the second wave of COVID-19 spread, the FCT Administration had reopened the hitherto closed high capacity COVID-19 Idu Isolation and Centre, to help absorb pressure on the existing Centres at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital (UATH) Gwagwalada and ThisDay Dome.
Adesola, who spoke with newsmen, during an inspection of the three operational COVID-19 Centres in FCT, explained that at one time, there were no longer patients at the Idu Centre and others shutdown, but with the resurgence of second wave of COVID-19), the government had to restore the place (Idu) to be fully operational.
According to him, “They are centres we would not have wanted to exist in the first place, but as fate has it , they are existing. We are quite impressed with the reports we got from them.
“Ordinarily, we would not have wanted to reopen them, but if there is upsurge, we will be compelled to reopen them (all the COVID-19 Centres).
“At Gwagwalada, the centre is fully functional and operational, it has become a centre of excellence and reference point. In Idu, because we were fortunate to have a reduction up to zero level in FCT, at one time we no longer have patients there, but now with the resurgence (second wave of COVID-19) we have to be prepared to restore the place to be operational.
“It’s our prayers that we don’t need to go beyond what we have. To ensure that things are going on well, our people who have been highly sensitised on the need to take responsibility for their health and safety will do that.
“And at the ThisDay Dome, we met with the staff and everybody working. So we are happy with the reports we are getting from all the centres. It has been one good report after the other, of courteous attention, and respect of dignity for the patients. So far, we are good.”
He however noted that a lot of Nigerian health professionals have acquired a lot of experience, and much level of expertise is being developed in the management of COVID-19.
On the issue of non or delayed payment of allowances for health workers at the ThisDay Dome, “ the Permanent Secretary said: It’s only recently that this centre (ThisDay Dome) was transferred to the FCTA, we are making all efforts to address all issues necessary to keep the place operational.
He adds: “COVID-19 is no respecter of any person, as the highs and lows are affected by the pandamic, so we encourage everybody to be more responsible.
“Therefore, I want to appeal to all Nigerians particularly, the residents of FCT to take greater responsibility for their safety and health, and avoid situation where they would have to come down and be brought in for treatment.
“We all know our health status, so if you have higher health risk, you need to take greater precautions, so that you would not find yourself battling with the health situation imposed by the COVID-19.”
O his part, the Team Lead at UATH Gwagwalada, Dr. Yunusa Thairu, urged government to provide more oxygen and as well as boost the morale of the frontline workers.
Thairu said, “ We have severe and critical cased coming in and the need for oxygenation cannot be over-emphasised . As at today 22 of the patients are on oxygen”.
Also, the Medical Superintendent at the Thisday Dome Centre, Dr. Molokwu Victor, decried the fact that all categories of frontline workers at the Centre have not not gotten their due allowances since September 2020 till date.
Victor noted that while supplies for medicals and other necessary items were adequately taken care of, the issue of allowances was the major albatross to the operations of the centre.