Bauchi State Government has become the first to be given a positive rating in managing COVID-19 in the Northern part of the country. The Almajiri crisis in the region and other manifestations of bareness that explains the high number of death in Kano, for example, has exposed the region to harsh criticism by the Kano based Centre for Information Technology and Development, (CITAD) which has been comprehensively monitoring progression of COVID-19.
But now, Bauchi State Government is getting kudos for doing two things right in the eyes of CITAD. One is the sealing of Gida Duba Housing Estate where someone who tested positive died. That necessitated the tracing of his contacts, three of whose results turned positive. Since then, more samples have been taken and results are being awaited.
The second is the meeting the state government had with the traders union in the state which led to the reduction the price of some essential commodities. CITAD is saying that the meeting “is another step worthy of commendations”.
It is, however asking the state government to note how the Baraya and Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Teaching Hospital isolation centres are such that both suspect cases waiting for their results and confirmed cases are in an environment where social distancing is not possible and how such is creating the situation in which even when the results of the suspects turn out negative, they might have become infected by the virus during the their stay in the isolation centres; how long and traumatic the five days of waiting to get the result could be; the crisis of disbelief in the reality of COVID-19 by majority of the folks; acute shortage of preventive materials such as sanitizers, face masks, PPE’s as well as drugs, toilet tissue, disinfectants and bathing soap across the hospitals and disinfectants and the frequent death still occurring in some parts of the state.
The NGO is, therefore, asking the government to, as a matter of urgency, prioritise addressing the filthy conditions of the isolation centres in the state, the state government to engage in massive testing and contact tracing in all the local governments in the state, same government to work better with the Presidential Task Force against COVID 19 to get enough PPEs for the health workers managing the centres and other hospitals in the state and, finally, embark on a massive enlightenment campaign targeting patients and the general public as even patients are unable to understand why they are being held in the centres.
CITAD says it would continue to monitor and report the situation to the government and engage the citizens in the state to ensure that there are no losers but only winners against the pandemic in the state in particular and the country in general. “We are also ready to partner with the state government or any other stakeholder that take the responsibility of giving his/her contribution to the fight against the pandemic in the state”, the statement signed by Mallam Isah Garba, CITAD’s Acting Programme Officer said.