By Emmanuel Ugwu
The federal government has expressed delight at the efforts of a group of professionals from Abia State who pulled resources together to fight COVID-19 pandemic and other infectious diseases by building a care centre.
The Minister of state for Health, Dr. Adeleke Mamora and the Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control(NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, jointly poured encomium on the Concerned Abia Professionals (CAP) during the inauguration of Abia Care Centre at the Federal Medical Centre(FMC) Umuahia.
The Abia Care Centre, an ultramodern 50-bed isolation centre with NCDC approved molecular laboratory was built, equipped and donated by CAP for the treatment of infectious diseases at FMC Umuahia.
Dr Mamora said the initiative by the Abia professionals was a display of high level patriotism not easily seen anywhere in Nigeria
According to him, the gesture has gone a long way to prove that collaboration between private and public sectors was needed to advance the cause of improving the well being of Nigerians, adding that FG would never overlook positive contributions by citizens.
In his own remarks the NCDC boss, Ihekweazu said such demonstration of patriotism by Abia professionals has the effect of encouraging government to strive more to meet the needs of citizens.
He pointed out that such gesture of CAP was akin to the spirit of self help displayed by the people of old who never depended on government but on their own embarked on people oriented projects through communal efforts.
Ihekweazu stated that COVID -19 would have recorded more casualties in Nigeria but for some stringent and painful steps taken by the government taskforce to stem the tide of the pandemic.
He however, regretted that Nigerians were not appreciative of the efforts of the taskforce and his agency in stemming the spread of the pandemic in the country.
The Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu commended the members of CAP for really expressing their concern for the wellbeing of their fellow citizen by building the health care centre.
The governor., who was represented by his deputy, Sir Ude Oko Chukwu, enthused that it was the first time Abians with divergent political inclinations would come together to undertake a common project of public importance.
Giving an update on COVID-19 situation in Abia, the state chief executive said that 909 confirmed cases have so far been recorded out of which 810 cases had been successfully managed and discharged while active cases presently stand at 10.
The initiator and vision bearer, Mrs. Ngozi Ekeoma, had earlier in her address explained that the project was inspired and executed with the aim of curtailing casualty figure of COVID -19 and other infectious diseases in the state.
She thanked all Abia professionals that identified with the life-saving project, noting that the health centre would always be available to handle any outbreak of infectious diseases in the state.
Chairman of the implementation committee, Mr Johnson Chukwu, disclosed that the project, which was completed in 47 days, cost over N120 million with 180 Abians contributing N98 million to support the project.
He expressed gratitude to the Nigeria Sovereign Wealth Investment as well as public -spirited friends for donating some medical equipment to the centre.
Among notable Abia personalities that witnessed the inauguration of the Abia Care Centre were Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe; financial expert, Dr. Alex Otti, and the member representing Ikwuano/Umuahia federal constituency, Rep Samson Onuigbo.