By Ibrahim HassanWuyo
Governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle of Zamfara state has launched the largest zero-contact testing centre for COVID-19 in Nigeria.
The governor said the development was to significantly increase the testing capacity and protect health workers who are on the front line in the fight against Coronavirus.
A statement signed by Yusuf Idris Gusau, Director General Media, Public Enlightenment and Communication from the Government House Gusau, quoted
Governor Matawalle saying provision of the new state of the art facilities was in furtherance of his administration’s firm resolve to rid the state of the pandemic.
He explained that it was an initiative that guaranteed to improve the testing capacity of the virus in line with the World Health Organization’s recommendations in order to regularly test and isolate COVID – 19 patients in the state and its neighbours.
He described the intervention as part of the broader strategy put in place by the Zamfara State Government”s response to the pandemic that unsettled the world through the disruption of social and economic activities, spike in mortality rate and general exacerbation of global health challenges.
“With the sample collection booths, the state government will be cutting costs by achieving more with less as it had become difficult and economically unsustainable to justify using new Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to test each patient, especially with the global scarcity of the vital equipment as the booth pays for itself within 5 to 7 days due to cost savings on the purchase of PPE.”
“This equally ensures timely delivery of collected samples because the booth can be deployed in border towns and remote areas,” he said.
He explained that in post-COVID – 19, the sample collection booths could be converted into telemedicine booths, an innovation that is poised to boost the people’s access to healthcare and their overall wellbeing, especially in the hinterlands of the state.
“To date, Zamfara remains one of the states with the best approach to containing COVID-19, having built an ultramodern isolation centre from start to finish within two weeks; procured more PPEs; acquired six (6) PCR machines, disinfectants/decontamination machines, disinfection tunnels, sample collection Booths, etc.”
“This will make it fit for the NCDC to comfortably set-up multiple molecular laboratories, a situation which will make the state have one of the best COVID – 19 recovery statistics in the country.”
Matawalle said following several years of palpable neglect in the health and other sectors in the state, his administration made a concerted effort to address the situation.
This involved the provision and upgrading of the health institutions; procurement of ambulances in all the 17 General Hospitals in the state; construction of 147 comprehensive healthcare facilities across all the 147 Wards; procurement of 147 tricycles to all the 147 comprehensive healthcare centers; the revival of state drug revolving programmes amongst others.
He said his government which was concerned with the provision of clean drinking water and hygienic environment amidst insecurity, was ever ready and determined to change all those narratives.
The governor, therefore, appealed for the support, collaboration and sustainable cooperation of all stakeholders, especially the Federal Government of Nigeria and International Development partners to join hands with Zamfara State as it strives to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and bring sustainable development and growth.
While conducting the Governor round the sample collection booths, Managing Director of Flying Doctors Health Care Group Investment Limited, Dr. Ola Browns said the Sample collection booths have the capacity of collecting 70 samples in an hour and is the largest Non- Contact testing centre in Nigeria.
She stated that the facility has a hundred percent protection from direct Contact with all suspected cases.