As a measure to facilitate sample testing of suspected cases of COVID-19 infection, Gombe State Governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, has approved the establishment of a testing centre in Gombe just as the taskforce received cash donations for operation.
The approval was made public by Chairman of the Taskforce on COVID-19, Professor Idris Mohammed, at a press briefing on the activities of his committee late Wednesday evening, saying that already, the state has placed an order for Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machines.
Idris Mohammed said: “We have ordered for the supply of PCR machines for testing the suspected case for the state own centre and it will be available in the next two weeks.”
He added that: ” Although we have three to five functioning PCR machines in Gombe state, but there are no primas for COVID-19 because every microorganism has to have it’s own specific prima for molecular biology testing and unless you have a specific prima for a disease, you cannot diagnose it .”
The Chairman, who lamented that there is no single COVID-19 testing machine in the North East region, noted that for any suspected case, the sample has to be referred to Abuja, Enugu, Edo or Lagos for laboratory analysis.
He said that the committee has produced a blueprint which received the approval of the Governor, Inuwa Yahaya for providing testing, isolation and treatment facilities.
The Taskforce Chairman added that: ” We have made tremendous progress since our coming on board. I am pleased to inform you that there are 3 possible centres for testing which should come on stream in the next couple of weeks or so.”
He further said that there is now an isolation centre in Kwadon that can accommodate 150 people, adding that for patients with moderate or severe cases, the committee is ready to admit them.
“Today, if we have patients with severe coronavirus infection, we have places that are fully equipped with ventilators, oxygen concentrators, cardiac respiratory monitors and all other things required to manage a severe patient and we intend to expand it in the next two weeks,” he said.
The Chairman also disclosed that his committee has received cash donations and other essential materials to boost the state’s campaign against coronavirus pandemic.
He said the taskforce has so far the state has received the sum of N28.5 Million from United Bank for Africa,
(UBA) and N2 Million from former Chief Medical Director of Federal Medical Centre (FMC) , Gombe, Dr Abubakar Ali Gombe.
According to the Chairman, 200 pieces of water buckets and 50 cartons of soap for hand sanitisation were also received from the management of a Gombe based private school, PEN Resource Academy.
While appreciating the gesture, the taskforce head said that though the committee was not primarily set up for fundraising, still they are ready to receive any donation from any organisation or individual willing to contribute towards curbing the spread of the COVID-19 in the state.
He added that his committee has intensified advocacy and sensitisation across the eleven LGAs in the state on the precautionary measures against the dreaded pandemic.
He also said that leaders of the two major religions, traditional rulers, health workers and other relevant professionals form part of the committee and are committed to ensuring smooth implementation of the taskforce’s terms of reference.
Professor Idris Mohammed noted with satisfaction the compliance level of Gombe residents so far, urging the citizenry to continue to heed to advice on protective and preventive measures against the global pandemic as contained in a statement by Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity to the Governor, Ismaila Uba Misilli.