Gov Simon Lalong during his visit to the isolation facility in JUTH, on Monday in Jos.

Gov Simon Lalong during his visit to the isolation facility in JUTH, on Monday in Jos.

The governor of Plateau, Simon Lalong has promised to get Eight ventilators for the three isolation facilities in the state, as part of measures to control the spread of COVID-19.

Lalong made the promise when he inspected the isolation facilities at the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH), Birmingham University Teaching Hospital and the Plateau Specialist Hospital on Monday in Jos, where all the hospitals mentioned the device as their major challenge.

A ventilator is a medical machine used in critical care, which helps the lungs to work by providing a patient with oxygen when they are unable to breathe on their own.

The estimated cost of a unit of the ventilator is about N7 million.

The governor, while inspecting the isolation unit in JUTH, promised to get four ventilators for them, as requested by the head of the centre, while Birmingham hospital and Plateau Specialist Hospital, would get two each.

The governor said that the state was committed to controlling the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, which had already claimed One life with 36 confirmed cases in Nigeria.

He said that the measure was to build the capacity of the hospitals in the advent of the breakout in the state and to safeguard the lives of its residents and other neighbouring areas.

Lalong urged the public to comply with the directives given by the state on suspending cultural festivals and anniversaries, closure of all schools and observing social distancing as preventive measures.

The state government on Friday gave directives on restrictions on marriage and burial ceremonies to 50 persons, 2 metres spacing in worship centres with running water, soap and sanitisers at their entrances and instructed commercial vehicles and tricycles to have sanitizers.

He said that the cooperation of the public was necessary to control the spread of COVID-19 while saying that he would take disciplinary measures on defaulters of government directives, especially on school proprietors who were still operating.

“When there are rules, let’s go by it, this situation is temporary. We should take the rule of hygiene, the rule of keeping our environment clean, and when we say close schools, there are just safety measures.

“Everybody must be vigilant, not only health officials, if your son or wife has the symptoms, please isolate them and inform the state, do not be ashamed to come out because you will also be protected by that action, ” he said.

Speaking during the inspection in JUTH, Dr Simji Gomerep, consultant Infectious Diseases and head of the isolation facility, said that the unit has 10-bed capacity but can be expanded as required, saying that it was capable of handling COVID -19 if equipped with ventilators.

He said that the facility currently has one confirmed and one suspected case of Lassa fever, which it was treating.

Also during the inspection, the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of JUTH, Prof. Edmund Banwat said that the major cause of death in COVID-19 is shortness in breath, saying mechanised ventilators was a critical need in all the three designated Isolation centres in the state.

At Birmingham hospital, the CMD, Prof Edwin Isiegbe said that the hospital has the human resources to tackle COVID 19, saying that the National Center for Disease Control has recognised it as an effective place in managing Lassa fever, thus was building an isolation centre in the hospital to handle such issues.

Also in Plateau Specialist Hospital, the CMD, Dr. Philemon Golwa said that the isolation facility has capacity for 20 beds but required a cardiac monitor machine, more human resources to render its services effectively.

NAN reports that the Governor also during his inspection in JUTH, visited one of its laboratory that produces hand sanitisers, urging them to improve their capacity to meet the demands of the State and beyond.

The governor also visited the emergency operation centre in the state, where patients with symptoms of COVID-19 can be tracked and contacted for appropriate action.