COVID-19: Bauchi Is Nigeria’s Community Testing Reference Centre

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By, Muhammad Umar Sanda, Bauchi

Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi at the final flag-off of palliative distribution, expressed delight that the state has become a reference point of COVID-19 pandemic community testing in Nigeria.

He attributed the feat to the frontline health staff who stood by the state during the handling of all confirmed cases, active surveillance, contact tracing, risk management strategy, and the provision of three square meals a day to all isolated patients.

Bala Tuesday said that the government in its efforts to make Bauchi state free from the COVID-19 pandemic, has apart from distribution of 110, 000 food packages of the palliative, also procured and distributed 700, 000 face masks to selected beneficiaries.

Other measures taken to contain the spread of the virus, the governor added, were the provision of 10, 000 face masks from each of the 20 LGAs, and the testing of at least 100, 000 people daily until Bauchi is sure that the virus is not taking refuge in any part of the state.

“We have also commenced community testing in all the twenty Local Government Areas of the state in line with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) guidelines of actively testing people to ensure that the virus is not spreading into the main stream fabrics of our society”.

While recalling that the palliative distribution committee was constituted in April this year, the governor said it was charged with the responsibility of sourcing assistance in cash or kind to support those wailing under hardships arising from negative social consequences of COVID-19 pandemic.

The Governor applauded members of the COVID-19 palliative distribution committee for judicious distribution and proper handling of the commodities, noting that all the palliative materials so far distributed have reached the targeted beneficiaries. 

Under the programme, he said, a household is entitled to one food basket which contains 10kg of Rice, 10k of Corn/Maize flour, 5kg of Millet, 5k of Beans, 2kg of Sugar, 3 pieces of spaghetti, 100 cubes of Maggi, 1kg of salt and 2 litres of vegetable/palm oil. 

He revealed that the palliative distribution committee has distributed a total of 110, 000 food baskets to the 20 LGAs of the state as part of government’s effort to ameliorate the hardship experienced by the citizens of the state as a result of the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.

Bala explained that the government is satisfied with the commendable efforts of the committee in the discharge of its onerous responsibility because, as he puts it, “No grain or any component of the commodities was diverted by any person or group of persons”.

“The ceremony we are witnessing today which is the final distribution of palliative materials in Bauchi Local Government Area is a very significant milestone in Government’s modest effort in bringing succour to citizens who are victims of this clear and present day danger called COVID-19”.

The governor added, “All praises be to Allah, the state got tremendous assistance by way of donations from well-meaning members of the public, corporate organizations, Government Agencies, Local and International donors and many, too numerous to mention”.

He gave a breakdown of the palliative distribution by Local Government Areas as Katagum -7, 000 food baskets; Giade – 4, 000; Zaki – 4, 000 baskets; Tafawa Balewa – 5, 000; Misau – 5, 000; Shira – 5, 000; Gamawa – 5, 000; Alkaleri – 6, 500; Ganjuwa – 5, 000; Warji – 3, 500; Dass – 3, 500; Kirfi – 4, 000; Toro – 6, 500; Bogoro 3, 500; Darazo – 5, 000; Dambam – 4, 000; Ningi – 6, 000; Jama’are – 3, 500; Itas/Gadau – 4, 000; and Bauchi – 20, 000 baskets.

The Governor thanked critical stakeholders who contributed immensely towards the successful distribution of the palliative, saying the state government is satisfied with the efforts of the distribution committee in the discharge of its mandate. 

Governor Bala also commended CA-COVID under the able leadership of Aliko Dangote and the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs for their remarkable contribution to palliation in Bauchi state.

“I must also mention my personal appreciation and that of my Government, to His Royal Highness, the Emir of Bauchi for his leadership, commitment, while his presence or the fear of his presence made everyone to be alive to their responsibilities.”

Bala similarly thanked the North East Development Commission which helped the state in establishing a Molecular laboratory, and the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (Tetfund) for assisting Bauchi to establish the second testing laboratory at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital (ATBUTH)

Governor Bala assured that the state government would make Bauchi free from COVID-19 pandemic, as it will also come up with creative ideas in managing the scarce resources of the state in this period of recession.

The government, he further stated, is poised to reach out by way of partnership with institutions which mandates provide windows for the state to collaborate and achieve meaningful results in dealing with its peculiar situations.

The State Task Force Chairman on COVID-19, who is also the Deputy Governor, Senator Baba Salihu Tela commended the role the state government for the active role it played in setting up the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) committee, Palliative Committee, and ensuring the observation of COVID-19 protocols.

Senator Baba Tela noted that they have never run short of a single kobo in their work either in the CACOVID or Palliative Distribution Committee, saying whatever financial assistance they require to enhance their work and ensure that they did what was supposed to be done was provided by Governor Bala Mohammed.

The State Chairman of COVID-19 Palliative Distribution Committee and Emir of Bauchi, Dr. Rilwanu Suleiman Adamu expressed gratitude to Governor Bala Mohammed for not interfering in the committee’s responsibilities during their assignment.

Dr. Rilwanu Suleiman Adamu explained that they divided themselves into sub-committees to facilitate the smooth conduct of their assigned responsibilities, and commended the people particularly the district heads in the LGAs for their support and cooperation to the committee.

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