THE Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has agreed to make use of the 435 hospitals and clinics offered by the Catholic Church to augment the depleting bed spaces at treatment centres.
According to the Nation, the Chairman of the Task Force Boss Mustapha, and National Coordinator Dr. Sani Aliyu, advised state governments to identify other unusual structures in their states and convert them to isolation and treatment centres as a way of expanding treatment capacities.
Mustapha and Aliyu, told reporters at the daily briefing in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) that inadequate bed spaces and accommodation in treatment centres posed great challenges to states designated as high-burdened zones.
Mustapha, who thanked the Catholic Bishops’ Conference for the offer, also advised governors to take advantage of the offer by the Nigeria Institute of Architects to give free service towards the execution of COVID-19 related projects across the states.
He said: “As part of efforts to support the states in the establishment of the isolation and treatment centres, I wish to remind our governors that the Catholic Bishops Conference has volunteered all the 425 hospitals and clinics nationwide for adaptation and use as isolation centres. Governors are encouraged to please approach Catholic Bishops in their states to access these facilities.
“As a further cost-effective measure, I also wish to remind subnational authorities that the Nigeria Institute of Architects have pledged the pro-bono services of their members to modify, design and supervise all COVID-19 related projects nationwide. Again, we urge that this offer be taken up speedily”.
The SGF expressed Federal Government’s displeasure with reports of attacks on frontline healthcare workers by patients, charging state governments to arrest the ugly situation.
Mustapha said: “The PTF has also continued to receive, rather sadly, reports about challenges facing the frontline health workers. They have received threat to lives, experienced detention by patients they are actually nursing to health and suffered other forms of harassment.
“Let me underscore the fact that these frontline workers constantly put their lives on the line to make sure persons infected are provided with the best care possible to enable them become healthy citizens again.
“It is therefore, inhuman and unacceptable that patients engage in acts of locking them up and making demands that these frontline officers, most of the time do not have the capacity to address. The PTF on COVID-19 views such behavior as reprehensible. We call on all State governments to take this up appropriately”.
He also unfolded plans to involve all tiers of government, in managing and curtailing the spread of the disease, calling on all traditional and religious leaders to be ready to play roles under the proposed regulations.
Aliyu, who made the suggestion during the daily media briefing by the Task Force, also emphasised the need for states to start expanding their isolation and treatment capacities, especially now that the spread had entered the community level.
Aliyu lamented the failure of some states to build isolation and treatment capacities, with the minimum of 300-bed spaces.
He said: “I must emphasize the need for state governments to continue to identify spaces for isolation of persons diagnosed positive with COVID-19. It’s important that we start considering unusual environments such as schools, academic institutions and even abandoned buildings because we definitely need to build our isolation capacities.
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“You may recall that the PTF provided guidance on ensuring that at least 300 beds are made available across all states for isolating people with COVID-19 and we are so concerned that a lot of states are yet to reach that number.
“In terms of public sensitisation, just to encourage the public to continue to personally monitor for symptoms of COVID-19, especially now that we have community transmission”, he said.
Aliyu also spoke of the PTF’s resolve to protect the socio-economic interests of Nigerians all through the period of the pandemic.
He said: “I’ll like to talk about the socio-economic impact the COVID-19 has had globally and to say that the PTF will continue to prioritise the human and economic needs of our people, based on global guidelines on the pandemic emergency response.
“In particular, we will continue to ensure the protection of health services system by collaboration with ministries, departments and agencies, we’ll continue to ensure the social protection and provision of basic services including the protection of jobs, both within the formal and informal sectors, as well as encouraging multilateral collaboration with the public and private sectors.”
Catholic Church Offers 435 Hospitals and Clinics
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