COVID-19 Scare Rocks NDDC


By: Akanimo Sampson

COVID-19 scare is currently rocking the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), an interventionist agency.

The arrangement is meant to ensure optimal care; contain; and prevent further spread of the virus in the country.

Staffers of the NDDC have already been placed on a 14 -day self isolation to enabled the troubled Commission identify those who have contracted the rampaging coronavirus.

The Commission’s Acting Head of Human Resources, Silas Anyanwu, directed the workers on May 28 to proceed on the 14-day self isolation.

Apparently jolted by the seeming nervous reaction at the NDDC, a civic group in Akwa Ibom State is calling for more aggressive   awareness campaigns at the grassroots as part of preventive measures against the virus.

The group, Shiftlink Foundation, has kick-started its sensitisation campaign aimed at halting the spread of the pandemic in rural communities through proper hygiene and nutrition.

Its Founder, Ibe Samuel, a public health practitioner says Nigeria has since gone past the stage of index transmission,  pointing out that resources should now be pooled towards educating the grassroots member of society, especially the elderly and aged people on the preventive measures.

“Since the elderly and the aged are the most vulnerable and susceptible group of people due to accumulated underlying aliments over the period of their lives, it is important we carry them along significantly and provide rich information to them on how they can avoid getting infected and this can only be achieved through a grass root centred approach.”

“This COVID-19 pandemic is a public health issue that requires serious efforts to contend, thus, all hands must be on deck. As a public health foundation, we are worried about a possible explosion in the number of confirmed cases especially among the aged and we do not want that to happen,” he adds.

In their campaign, they are demonstrating proper hand washing techniques as recommend by the World Health Organisation and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) as well as exhibiting the appropriate way of wearing the facemask.

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In the meantime, the decision by the management of NDDC to send the workers home is not unconnected with the demise of the Commission’s Acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Ibanga Bassey Etang, a church elder, who died on Thursday morning at a University Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt.

Though the actual cause of Etang’s death is yet to be made public, there are guarded whispers that he might have died of food poisoning or of the raging coronavirus infection.

Silas Anyanwu in his directive however, announced that all activities of the Commission including ongoing matters are shutdown for the 14-day period.

The directive equally directed the Director of Administration to fumigate and decontaminate the entire offices and premises in the headquarters during the period of the shutdown.