The Akwa Ibom State Government said it embarked on the construction of 300-bed Isolation Centre in Ituk Mbang General hospital, Uruan not just for management of Covid-19 but to upgrade the hospital even after the pandemic and to take care of any future infectious disease outbreak.
This came at the wake of criticism trailing the Isolation centre that government ought to have made makeshift tents as obtained in some states considering its lean resources.
The Commissioner for Works, Akparawa Ephraim Inyangeyen, while hosting members of the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) on Friday, 8th May, 2020, led by its Chairman, Otuekong Franklyn Isong, in an unscheduled visit to the construction site, said that the centre would add value to the General hospital where it is sited.
Inyangeyen reasoned that it would have been a waste of resources for government to build tents which may gulp up to N350Million and eventually be destroyed by windstorms.
He added that, considering the cold wheather condition of the Niger Delta region, it poses great danger to subject citizens of the state who are infected by the coronavirus to the conditions in the tent.
According to him,“The governor in his wisdom decided to bring a permanent solution to the problem of an infectious disease outbreak by investing in the isolation centre, not only to contain the COVID-19 pandemic but for the outbreak of any disease in the future.
“Apart from the durability and the safety for the patients and medics, the permanent structure will stand the test of time and add value to Akwa Ibom health sector.
”Let me ask you, what will be wrong if tomorrow, the governor in his wisdom decides to add like four or five structures and turn this to a medical College? We have space here and it is not a waste for us to have a campus of medical school.”
He said the heavily manned centre which was 80 percent near completion has 20 call rooms for doctors and nurses, virology laboratory, a standard clinical lab, canteen, and administrative offices.
On the amount spent on the project, Inyangeyen promised to account for every kobo soon after the commissioning, noting that integrity and transparency have being the watchword of the present government.
In his remarks, the Chairman of CLO who expressed satisfaction at the speed at which the centre is built, commended the Commissioner for always being at the site to ensure work is done based on required standard.
He, however, solicited support of Akwa Ibom people to government, noting that CLO commends where necessary and criticise where it feels government has gone wrong.
“We are not here to criticise the government this time around, but we are here to encourage and commend the governor for his ingenuity to construct a permanent structure for the isolation, who knows what will come after, covid-19? When we had Ebola outbreak, did we know that this coronavirus will come? So, we should be prepared as a state in case of any infectious outbreak in future, we will not be running helter skelter,” CLO said.