The Concerned Abia Professionals, a non-governmental organisation, has donated a fully-equipped isolation centre to the state as part of efforts to support the fight against COVID-19.
Speaking over the weekend at the unveiling of the 50-bed ultra-modern isolation centre donated by the group to the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, Adeleke Mamora, minister of state for health, described the initiative as an “exemplary and an unprecedented gesture”.
The minister said the project illustrated the achievements that could be made in national development through robust partnership between the private and public sectors.
“This gesture is a demonstration of undiluted patriotism ever seen anywhere in the country since the emergence of COVID-19,” the minister said.
Chikwe Ihekweazu, director-general of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), who described the project as a show of patriotism, said such actions compel the government to complement the people’s efforts.
“This is the spirit of the people of old who did not depend on government, but embarked on community development and people-oriented projects through communal efforts,” Ihekweazu said.
In his remarks, Okezie Ikpeazu, governor of Abia who was represented by Ude-Oko Chukwu, his deputy, thanked the initiators of the project for their contribution toward the fight against the pandemic.
Ikpeazu said it was a thing of joy that COVID-19 had helped to galvanise Abia indigenes to address an issue of common concern.
“It is noteworthy that in every bad situation, there is a positive side to it. This is the first time seeing Abia citizens across party lines and come together to address our common problem,” the governor said.
Ngozi Ekeoma, the project initiator, said the gesture was inspired by the urgent need to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Abia, noting that the facility, christened Abia Care Centre, would handle the outbreak of any infectious disease.
On his part, Johnson Chukwu, chairman of the implementation committee for the project, said 180 Abia citizens contributed N98 million to execute the project which cost over N120 million.
He expressed joy that the project was completed in a record time of 47 days, and thanked the Nigeria Sovereign Wealth Investment Fund and other public-spirited individuals for supporting the project with medical equipment.
Meanwhile, Azubuike Onyebuchi, medical director of FMC, thanked the group for the gesture, and promised that the centre would be fully utilised to achieve its stated objectives.
As of October 12, a total of 898 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Abia, out of which 872 recoveries and eight deaths have been recorded.