The Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) has revealed that certain attitudes on the part of the government and people of Bauchi State are responsible for the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
The centre, in a statement on Sunday, said the committee established by the state government to coordinate the fight against the COVID pandemic has over-centralised its activities in the state capital.
The statement, signed by acting programmes coordinator, Isah Garba Azare, said “other critical parts of the state are neglected in some initiatives…of the three isolations centres, only the two in the state capital (ATBU and Bayara) are functional. The one that is in FMC Azare is yet to take off.”
CITAD was particularly worried that health facilities in the state are not fully equipped to meet the challenges of the pandemic “which limits the performance of the medical personnel and also expose them to risk.”
It said “we noticed empty cans of sanitizers at the entrance of some of the hospitals … More worrisome is the fact that hospitals outside the state capitals do not have PPEs for health workers.”
It also said there were “reported positive cases among the staff of the Federal Medical Centre, Azare which is now throwing fears in the minds of the people in the area on their safety in attending the hospitals.
“There have been reports that within one week, over one hundred people have died. Similar reports have been lodged from Jamaare were within five days, more 16 elderly people have dies, most of them following hospitalization at the FMC.
“People suspect not only a high level of infection among the hospital staff but that the whole environment of the hospital might have been contaminated.”
The centre pointed out that “the government ban on inter-state movement is mere pronouncement, without serious mechanisms to enforce it. As such, vehicles are seen loading in all the government recognized motor parks in Bauchi, Azare, Jamaare, Ningi to neighbouring states”, Kano inclusive.
CITAD lamented that “congregations prayers are being conducted which is contrary to the requirement of social distance initiative. For Example, Salatul Tarawih is performed in many mosques within the state capital and in all towns. Similarly, some churches also still organize programmes not on Sundays but on other days that generate many crowds.”
It said “in spite of the complains and suspicion about the possible link between the spike in the number of deaths in parts of the state and COVID-19 across the state, burials attract huge crowns as well as at condolence places where social distancing and other preventive measures are observed in the breach.
It recommended that the state government should “without further delay enforce a total lockdown in the state”, adding that “state government should work with the Council of Ulama to ensure that burial protocols as advised by both the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs and the NCDC are observed.”