The US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, has inaugurated a state-of-the-art public health Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
Leonard said during the virtual event on Thursday that the facility, which was upgraded by the US, would enable “centralised real-time monitoring and predictive modelling for enhanced coordination of activities.”
She commended the federal and state governments as well as other stakeholders for their efforts toward curtailing the coronavirus, stressing that the EOC would also help in making informed decisions about the pandemic and similar public health emergencies.
The Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, described the establishment of the EOC as a welcome development that would improve healthcare delivery in the state.
He said the centre would also enhance planning, coordination and management of the COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, said efforts were on to set up a molecular laboratory for the testing of the virus, dding that the state would soon take delivery of a biosafety cabinet.
Diri, who is the chairman of the state COVID-19 task force, lamented the spike in confirmed cases in Bayelsa with a current fatality rate of six percent.
He attributed the ugly trend to what he described as “belief in myths”, which promote the negative impression that the disease was not real.
He expressed gratitude to the US Government and other partners for making the project a reality, and assured them of proper use of the Centre to effectively fight the pandemic and other ailments.
Diri said, “What we are doing today is for us to provide health facilities that help us to respond to the health needs of our people without necessarily overburdening them with the protocol and delay processes of getting real-time information and response in the case of emergencies and other health related challenges.
“For now, we are still going to Port Harcourt for testing. But we are working round the clock to ensure that before the end of this month, we will have our localized testing.
“We want to thank the US Government and its partners for this kind gesture. We believe not only for the purpose of the COVID-19 that is ravaging now but that this centre will also serve our purpose for other infectious diseases that may occur.”