Doctors in Ebonyi State on Tuesday protested along the major street of Abakaliki over the non functionality of the virology centre in the state.
Recall that the virology centre was built and equipped by the state government with over N350 million and handed over to the federal government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari.
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However, the doctors who are majorly the staff of federal teaching hospital Abakaliki, blamed President Buhari for allowing the centre to be lying waste.
Briefing Journalists at the front of government house Abakaliki, the leader of the protesters, Dr Onwe Oliva Mbam lamented that it was as a result of the non functionality of the centre that caused the death of their 2 colleagues.
He noted that the 3 lassa fever victims were first admitted for 4 days at the FATHA virology centre before they were taken to Irua specialist centre in Edo state.
“As we pray for our lost colleagues, we believe we attract the sympathy of the public and the federal government and anybody that can help us, to put pressure on the President to fulfill the promise he made to the governor of Ebonyi state and to Ebonyians that he will make the virology centre to be functional instead of paying him (Umahi) back the money he used to build the centre. That’s why we are here”, he stated.
In a swift reaction, the governor of Ebonyi state Chief David Umahi also regretted that the virology centre has not been operational since the state handed over the centre to the federal government.
He said: “I was told that the lassa fever emanated from trying to save the life of somebody who sojourned from outside the state to Hausa quarters in Ebonyi state and that’s how the incident started.
“But the annoying thing is that since we handed over the lassa fever centre to the federal government, they have not fully taken it over.
“It is not fully functional. It is very annoying that the committee we set up to build the place and equip it did not tell us that the supplier of the equipment has not fully installed it. Nobody told us and that is very very sad. We had several meetings since yesterday and today. We have agreed to release 5 million for them to source for expert from Lagos.
“I have also called the minister of health and he has also sent expert here. N5 million is to activate the place fully and get expert to start training. We are committed to spending more funds as needs arises.
“In our meeting with NMA and CMD this morning also, we agreed to release the sum of 2 million.
“What we have agreed is to get 3 names from NMA to be members of the lassa fever committee and get a sub committee out of that, so that they will be a kind of monitoring, they will be in 3 groups, one will be at the land of Hausa, Mata hospital and FATHA 1 & 2.
“All the relatives of the victims must be put on close monitoring, temperature taken at morning and evening for 21 days. We will also assist the NMA to bury the dead by giving them small cash to assist the family of the deceased.
“I ask you to tell your family members and the public to minimize the shaking of hands and anybody that has higher fever that lasts for 2 days should report. We will increase an awareness campaign for people to stop eating of rats, bush meat and wash hands properly. One of us, My SA on special duties lost one of her sisters”, he stressed.