Against the notion in some quarters that the Akwa Ibom State Government is not ready to contend with the COVID-19 pandemic, a visit to the Ibom Specialist Hospital on Thursday, March 26 has shown that the state is equipped with necessary state-of-the-art equipment and facilities for combating the virus in the event of a breakout.
The Ibom Specialist Hospital which has 11 Ventilators and Oxygen tanks brings the total number of Ventilators in the state to 19, with 4 at the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital and 4 reserved ones at the Government House Clinic.
Showing the Commissioner for Information and some government officials around the Isolation Unit, Dr. Udeme Ekporikpo pointed at the automated beds, Ventilators, anesthetic machines, 1500 KV Generator and the fully equipped intensive care unit provided by the state government.
Speaking on the functionality of the Ventilators, Dr Ekporikpo recalled that a 30-week immature baby kept in it was discharged few weeks ago who could not breathe from his nose. “The hospital has a 1500 KV Generator which can power all heavy-duty equipment in the Hospital, including the oxygen plant and we have enough oxygen for supply throughout the state”, he said.
He stated that the new intensive care unit donated by Governor Udom Emmanuel were for severe infectious cases of suspected COVID-19 patients, adding that any suspected case is isolated there, while sample is taken and sent to Abuja for testing.
Speaking on the state’s level of preparedness to arrest any possible outbreak, the Commissioner for Information, Sir Charles Udoh mentioned that the Ministry of Health has set aside an ambulance to ensure the transportation of any suspected case to the isolation centre.
“No other person except the suspected case would be allowed to use the vehicle”, he said.
“Moreover, Exxon Mobil has promised to provide 2 more ambulance vehicles to support the state”, he added.
Sir Udoh who stressed that no cure has yet been found for the global pandemic, advised that people should adhere to personal and respiratory guidelines that have been given across different platforms, including washing of hands, maintaining social distance, avoiding embrace, avoiding close contact with people, wearing face mask, using hand sanitizers and notifying the emergency response team in the event of any suspicion.
He debunked the rumors that the state was covering up cases of positive cases, stressing that the state has no facility for testing the virus.
“The test for the pandemic is done centrally outside the state. If there is any positive case, those at the NCDC will announce it”, he added.