Community surveillance and testing program, aimed at breaking the chain of coronavirus transmission in Abia state was on Tuesday, flagged off by Abia state governor, Okezie Ikpeazu.
The program was flagged off at the Umuahia South Local Government headquarters, Apumiri Ubakala, with the theme, “Breaking the Chain of Transmission of COVID-19 in Abia State through Community Surveillance and Testing.”
Performing the function, Governor Ikpeazu who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government and Chairman of the inter-ministerial committee on COVID-19, Barr Chris Ezem, said the exercise demands maximum support from the citizens if it will yield appreciable result.
He noted that Abia State is the first state in the South East to embark on such mass community testing against COVID-19.
“Testing positive to the virus is not a death sentence as patients are being nursed back to health at the state’s isolation and treatment facilities. As such, we advise that those who test negative should continue to adhere strictly to the COVID-19 protocols already given which include maintaining social/physical distance of a minimum 2 meters, use of nose mask, regular washing of hands under running water or use of hand sanitizers and avoiding crowded gatherings,” the governor said.
Ikpeazu warned that failure to observe the laid down rules will result to enforcing a total ban on social gatherings in the State.
Earlier in his speech, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr Joe Osuji noted that the virus which broke out on the 31st of December, 2019 in Wuhan, China, has spread across the 36 states of Nigeria and FCT, hence the need for all states to take initiatives to break the chain of transmission and flatten the curve as quickly as possible.
He revealed that the Ministry of Health has trained frontline contact tracers and sample collectors in all the LGAs of the state with the aim of carrying out massive sampling and testing of a target of 10,000 samples across the 17 LGAs in the state, an exercise which took off today the 20th of July, 2020.
In his words, “the main aim of the initiative is to break the chain of transmission through the identification of cases, isolation of positive cases, managing the symptomatic back to health, contact tracing and monitoring of all the LGAs.”
In a welcome address, the Transition Committee Chairman Umuahia South LGA, Dr. Max Ndukwe Adindu, noted that the event is an evidence of the commitment of the state government to improving health care delivery to citizens and residents of the State, urging Abians to cooperate and support the initiative by submitting themselves for the test.
The event which featured a collection of samples for COVID-19 testing from volunteers was well attended by dignitaries in the State such as the Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, Abia State Head of Service, Sir Onyi Wamah, Head of Service Umuahia South LGA, former Commissioner Bureau of Training and Establishment, Lady Elizabeth Uhuegbu, Traditional Rulers of communities in Umuahia South LGA in the State amongst others.