Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Wednesday paid an unscheduled visit to the infectious disease centre to touch base with and commend the medical team handling the state’s COVID-19 cases, saying he had come to acknowledge their priceless efforts to save humanity.
The Governor had repeatedly visited the facility, including to cheer the patients, but he said Tuesday’s impromptu visit was meant to specially thank and inspire the health workers for what they have been doing for the state.
AbdulRazaq said no allowance could compensate for the work, sacrifice and commitment of the frontline workers, and urged members of the public to avoid making comments or doing anything to undermine the efforts of the health workers to flatten the curve of transmission of the pandemic.
“On behalf of the state and the humanity, I am here to thank you for what you do. It is not about allowances. You are one of the best COVID-19 teams in Nigeria. We are following what you are doing and I am here to commend you for your selfless service. You volunteered even before we planned to give special allowances,” he said, his speeches intermittently interrupted by applauses from the health workers.
“We really appreciate what you are doing. You put your lives at risk and that of your families to take up this job. Just as we give special allowances, we will give you special reward when COVID-19 is over. We need to renew the campaign on COVID-19 because the assumption is that COVID-19 is over and everybody is going about their normal businesses. That is a mistake because the figure doesn’t show that. People are falling ill by the day and we need to ramp up our testing so that we know where exactly we stand. I know that most of the cases are from contact tracing. Now we need to enter another phase where we need to go to the public and test people. We have tested over 4000 people. We want to be in the position to test at least 20000. That’s where we are going.
“Some of the patients have left here, they are thankful but they are not speaking loud enough to thank you for what you have done. Government is spending a lot of money. COVID-19 patients don’t spend any money (diagnosis, management by best professionals, food) and they leave without (in their own way) letting the world know what you were doing for them and how you were taking care of them. So, on their behalf, and the citizens of this state, we appreciate you very much. And our message is that people must wear the mask. If they don’t wear the mask and obey other protocols, it is a disservice to your work and what you are doing. So, we’ll continue to push the message and with this we can stop the infection. I urge everybody to wear the mask all the time, maintain social distancing and other NCDC guidelines.”
The medics took turns to commend the Governor for his visit which they said was a “morale booster” that meant much more than any other thing.
Oluwatosin Fakayode, head of the public health department of the Ministry of Health and leading member of the COVID-19 team, said the Governor’s visit was a great encouragement to the team, commending the government for its commitment to the fight against the pandemic.
“The motivation you have given to us is immeasurable coming to appreciate the frontline workers. This is a morale boaster and we can only assure you that we will double our efforts to ensure that in Kwara we flatten the curve and ensure that people stop dying,” Fakayode said.
“As at today, our case fatality rate is 2.6%. This looks like a small figure but to the family that have lost their loved ones this is 100% mortality for these families. Our work is to ensure that nobody dies from COVID-19 and this we can only do by early detection and this can be by improving our testing. Our plan is to set up testing centre in all the LGAs of the state. In the coming weeks, we will fully reach the target of 1% population of Kwara. By then, we’ll fully know the real burden.”
Alao Saliu Olufunsho, head of the testing centre, and Kudirat Oladimeji-Lambe, team lead at the infectious disease centre, commended AbdulRazaq for his relentless support for the team and his visit.
“This is a great motivation and we are grateful for the gesture,” Oladimeji-Lambe said.