THE Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), has praised the Bauchi State government on some of the measures it has put in place following criticism on the shoddy way it had administered and coordinated the response which had led to escalation of infection in the state.
CITAD, in a statement on Tuesday, signed by Isah Garba, its Acting Programmes Coordinator, noted appreciable improvement in the prompt imposition of lockdown in some local government areas of the state and the setting up of additional sub-committees for contact tracing.
“We appreciate some of the measures taken by Bauchi state Government in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in the state, especially, the announcement of total lockdown in some local governments of the state that were initially neglected and the and the establishment of 7 sub-committees that will help the main committee in tracing contacts of the people who tested positive for testing and necessary follow up actions.
“We note in particular, the sealing of Gida Duba Housing Estate where a confirmed Covid–19 positive patient died that necessitated the tracing of his contacts of which three of them returned positive. Since then more samples have been taken and results are being awaited,” CITAD stated, while also commending the efforts of the government in meeting with the state’s traders union which has resulted in the reduction of prices of some essential commodities.
Notwithstanding the commendations, CITAD however observed that there are still a number of shortcomings. According to the organization, the situation in the isolation centres of Baraya and Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Teaching Hospital, calls for concern as suspected people waiting for their results freely mix with confirmed cases without observing social distance rules. This, CITAD said, has created a dilemma such that even when the results of the suspect cases “turn out negative, they might have become infected by the virus during the their stay in the isolation centres”
Among other observations that are of concern include the lack of enlightenment even among confirmed coronavirus patients many of still don’t believe that the pandemic is real; the poor state of hygiene in the isolation centres which are not provided with sanitizers or soaps for hand washing and toilet papers and disinfectants, the hostility of healthcare personnel in the isolation centres to patients which often lead to misunderstanding and lack of basic drugs for ailments not related to covid-19 for patients in isolation.
Noting that there is acute shortage of preventive materials such as sanitizers, face masks, PPEs in the hospitals, CITAD stated that there are still reports of deaths in some parts of the state marked by non-observance of burial guidelines and widespread disregard to social distance directives.
While calling the authorities to fast-track testing which for now takes about 5 days before results are returned, CITAD also urged the state government to as a matter of urgency address the filthy conditions of the isolation centres by providing the necessary materials that will prevent other infections in the isolation centres.
CITAD further recommended: “The state the government should work with the Presidential Task Force against COVID 19 to get enough PPEs for the health workers managing the centres and other hospitals in the state
“Government should enlighten both patients and the general public as even patients are unable to understand why they are being held
“The state government should engage in massive testing and contact tracing in all the local governments in the state.
“There is a need for improved relationship between the patients and the health workers in the Isolation Centres.
“For the total lockdown to work effectively and provide the needed result there is a need for inclusive and transparent palliative distribution.”