In a bid to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ondo state and all other health facilities, the Nigeria Center for Diseases Control (NCDC) committee visited the University of Medical Sciences Teaching Hospital in February 2021. The visit was to discuss and observe various challenges faced by the facility in its effort to reduce the spread of the pandemic and also provide support in areas required.
The CMD of the teaching hospital Dr. Oluwole Ige who was represented by the CMAC, Dr. Micheal Gbala described the visit as “a right one at the right time”. Dr. Gbala said the COVID-19 pandemic is currently on a high and UNIMEDTHC is doing everything in its power to curb the rate at which the disease is rising.
The CMAC lauded the state government’s efforts in fighting the spread of the disease while enumerating strategic efforts put in place by the state chairman on COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control and Vice-chancellor of UNIMED, Professor Adesegun Fatusi in the prevention of the diseases.
Dr. Micheal Gbala explained the need to create more advocacy and orientation programs by sensitizing the general public, traditional institutions, and religious bodies on the need to follow COVID-19 preventions and protocols strictly. He added that basic hygiene of handwashing, social distancing, and wearing face masks always is essential.
Highlighting challenges, the CMAC pointed out that the newly commissioned isolation center and control for the disease in the Ondo complex does not have any equipment or medical consumables to make the building functional during this trying time of COVID-19.
Dr. Gbala also pointed out more areas where NCDC can support the system like contact tracing, risk communication, and clinical surveillance. He said that with their complementary roles, the diseases could be tackled headlong effectively.
Dr. Gbala Micheal further implored the NCDC to find solutions to these challenges because Ondo state is at high risk if people cannot visit the teaching hospital, get tested, and get their result on time to know the next line of medical action.
Earlier, the leader of the NCDC team Mr. Tajudeen Arowolo stated that their visit was in tandem to discuss and observe the various challenges facing the facility and to bridge the gap in the communication risk between the hospitals.
The NCDC team lead said that after his careful observations, the facility can do better especially in the areas of sensitizing the public about the dangers of the disease and how to prevent it. He said that “the attitude of the people of Ondo state towards the disease was disheartening, adding that the people were not taking into consideration the importance of wearing a face mask in public and regular hand sanitizing.
The DCMAC clinical services, Dr. Akinbodewa, stressed the importance of orientation and sensitization of the public through the right channels. According to him, some of such channels are the traditional institution, the head of market women, heads of various artisan groups to understand protocols for infection prevention and control. He stated that it is important to change the perception of people who do not believe in the existence of the disease.
Akinbodewa charged the NCDC to bring to the notice of the government at the highest level about their key roles in combatting the spread of the disease. He urged that the “nonchalant” attitude of the citizens of Nigeria should change. He also challenged government officials at all levels to take responsibility in the area of wearing a face mask in public gatherings so as to encourage the citizen to do the same and change their negative attitude towards the perception of the pandemic.