Following successful training of its Frontline Contact Tracers for coronavirus testing in the 17 council areas of Abia State, its COVID-19 Committee, yesterday, commenced statewide mass community testing for the virus.
Commissioner for Health, Dr. Joe Osuji, who spoke at Apumiri Ubakala, Umuahia South Council Area, disclosed that the exercise represented another attempt to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, especially in the rural communities.
He explained that the targeted 10,000 persons would be tested within 30 days during the exercise, which begins in Umuahia North, Umuahia South and Isiala Ngwa North council areas.
“It is mainly to break the chain of transmission and flatten specific objectives including cases identification, isolation of positive cases, managing symptomatic ones, as well as trace and monitor their contacts to stop the transmission.
Representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the state, Dr. Linus Okoro, who spoke through the Technical Officer, Oje Chukwu, said in support of the state government response to containing the pandemic by setting up COVID-19 Task Force, “WHO carried out intensive surveillance (Active Case Search) in Ikwuano, Ukwa West and Umuahia councils to determine the burden and source of the scourge.”
While unveiling the programme, which featured collection of samples of some traditional rulers and community leaders, among others, Secretary to the State Government and Chairman of the COVID-19 Committee, Chris Ezem, said the state government would not rest on its oars in its efforts to protect the people from the pandemic.
Stressing that the pandemic was already tilting towards community transmission, he urged the residents to submit themselves for testing and continue to observe all prescribed preventive protocols saying.
“It would be wise for one to know his status and if one tests negative, he has to be more careful. But if one tests positive, our doctors and medical personnel will care for the person in our facilities. Control of the pandemic cannot be the responsibility of government alone,” he stated.
Responding, Transition Chairman of Umuahia South Council Area, Chief Ndukwe Adindu, commended Governor Okezie Ikpeazu for building the isolation and treatment centres, and the committee for working hard to contain the pandemic in the state.