Why Abia State Has Not Recorded Any COVID-19 Cases-Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu

…Extols Federal Government’s Lockdown Strategy


By Clifford Agugoesi

Abia State, south east, Nigeria, has not recorded any cases of the coronavirus(COVID-19) due to the state’s telehealth programme and robust geriatric outfits that have enabled the state respond to disease outbreaks, especially, COVID-19.

Governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, spoke  as one of the guests to Good Morning Nigeria, on NTA, Thursday, April 9.  Stated Governor Ikpeazu: “We have not recorded any cases of COVID-19, because of our Telehealth programme, that we launched last year, which has enabled us reach our populace everywhere . This has helped us in reporting and tracking and testing  of those who have complained and up till now,  all the results have returned negative.  We also have very very powerful geriatrical outfit where we reach those who are 70 years and above, at their homes  and this has been on for over 18 months now, before this time, so all we needed to do was to engage all of these initiatives to help us do the needful. 

“And this has been robust, because, our strategy is  two-fold: prevention and, then, being able to care for patients when the cases arise back to health. On prevention we thank the media, traditional rulers, town-criers, churches, market leaders, et cetera  because they understand how important it is to be alive before you are able to do business or do trading.  You are also aware that we are making some modest contributions to the manufacturing and production of face masks, as well as PPE.  Later today, we will be looking at our environmental health officers going for fumigation and all the places, all the apparels, all the gears they will adorn are all manufactured by our people here and they are capable of protecting them.”

It will be recalled that March 16, Abia State deployed the telehealth initiative, in partnership with Globacom Nigeria and Dial-A-Doc-Direct, to tackle spread of the Corona virus by providing care, support and guidance to healthcare consumers, especially in Abia State.

In a statement, Principal Founder at Dial-A-Doc-Direct, Dr. Omas Ubiame, noted that despite the current low likelihood of the infection in the country, telehealth could make a huge difference in providing care, support and guidance to healthcare consumers.

Ubiame stated that the Abia State telehealth initiative was granting access to phone users across the state on quality, affordable and timely healthcare, despite their geographical distance from a healthcare facility and this time in spite of an infectious disease outbreak.

Dr. Ubiame’s statement reads: “The Abia State Telehealth Support Initiative is rapidly advancing its local healthcare system into virtual space to improve remote access, outcome and coverage thereby, enhancing inclusivity towards universality, through the Abia State TeleHealth Support Centre manned by medical doctors.

“It is supporting Abia’s almost four million residents through its 722 primary, 28 secondary and 2 tertiary healthcare centres. Abia State with its telehealth support programme is no doubt better primed to more effectively and efficiently predict, prevent and control emerging infectious diseases like the current coronavirus outbreak, while still delivering basic contemporary healthcare services.

“As the fears over the coronavirus continue to spread faster than the disease itself, despite the current evident low likelihood of the infection in Nigeria, telehealth can make a huge difference in providing care, support and guidance to healthcare consumers. Whether clairvoyant or proactive, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu deserves the accolades that come with this level of digitalisation of the local healthcare system in Abia state.”

Omas said during an infectious disease outbreak, healthcare providers were both at the greatest risk and posed one of the greatest risks to their communities, as they were in constant contact with both sick and well populations, adding that there was a need “to be extra vigilant and extremely prepared to safeguard our lives and the lives of our loved ones, family, friends, and communities.”

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