ondo state

A winning collaboration

From Wuhan to Ondo State

When we heard about the new virus that had been identified in Wuhan, China in December 2019 little did we know that the virus would very quickly evolve into a global pandemic, a global recession, a food crisis. Nigeria recorded its first index case of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) on February 27, 2020, and Ondo State on April 3, 2020. A military officer that had been infected during official international travel to India was the index case for Ondo State. Since then, Ondo State has recorded 15 other cases, with 1 death, 6 recoveries and 8 patients on admission. The State currently averages 0.45 new cases per day.

Preparedness

The State, fortunately, was not found unprepared. Prior to April 3, 2020, when it recorded its first case, the State had commenced awareness, campaigns on radio, TV, print and social media, including a skit on TV on the importance of handwashing, use of face masks and santizers, which had the Governor himself as one of the principal actors. The Governor's skit was shared over 15,000 times and viewed by over 200,000 people on social media. The State had also fully activated its disease surveillance team and its infectious disease hospital to be able to cater for any case that might present itself

Schools and hospitals had been shut down with political, social and public gatherings banned to limit oppurtunities for the spread of the virus, particulary to the most vulnerable. Educational programmes for students at all levels also commenced on radio and TV. In addition, the interstate borders were largely closed to reduce oppurtunities for continued importation of the virus into the state or outside of the state. The Governor also constituted a COVID-19 palliatives committee, and on April 1, 2020, constituted a fund raising committee to mobilize resources, and allocate such resources to the benefit of the state. Finally the state identified locations for 3 new isolation centers in Ondo, Ikare and Okitipupa with plans to increase the isolation capacity of the state to 400 beds.

Ondo State COVID-19 Fund Committee

The members of the 8-person committee:

Kayode Falowo

Chairman

Akin Odunmakinde

Deputy Chairman

Sade Ogunsola

Member

Segun Olugoyegun

Member

Cecilia Akintomide

Member

Segun Fatusi

Member

Akin Olotu

Member

Babajide Akeredolu

Secretary

All committee members serve on a pro bono basis with their time and services as in-kind contributions to the COVID-19 Fund. The membership of the committee comprises experts in the field of finance, infectious diease control, community health, business, engineering, law etc.

Baseline

The Committee hit the ground running by first obtaining a clear definition of the issues through the health professionals that are members. The committee broke its interventions into 5 distinct groups as well as had a rapid evaluation of the situation noting the following:

Laboratory Equipment

Testing capacity appropriate for COVID-19 not existent in the state

Logistics support

Inadequate respiratory equipment in the main hospitals

In Patient Support

Inadequate number of ambulances

Medical Consumables

Inadequate number of personal protective equipment

Hospital Infrastructure

Only 20-bed dedicated hospital capacity for COVID-19 in Ondo State (Some of whic are already taken by TB patients)

Results

The Committee hit the ground running by first obtaining a clear definition of the issues through the health professionals that are members. The Committee broke its interventions into 5 distinct groups as well as had a rapid evaluation of the situation noting the following:

Medical Consumables

1600 PPE suit delivered as in-kind contribution

10,000 latex gloves as in-kind contribution

26,000 face masks as in-kind contribution

1500 face shields as in-kind contribution

Hospital Infrastructure

20 dedicated hospital bed capacity increased to 210

Logistics Support

3 Ambulances delivered to the state as in-kind contribution

Laboratory Equipment

Lab equipment ordered for 2 RT-PCR labs in Akure and Ondo with testing capacity per day, as in-kind contribution. The labs will be operational before the end of May.

Upgrade of existing lab in Ondo Town to allow for testing.

In addition, the committee has supported policy action by the state, specifically by recommending the upgrade of the payment of a hazard allowance for frontline personnel. The state has adopted this recommendation and is paying an extra percentage to the already upscaled hazard allowace, thereby incentivizing as well as rewarding the important contribution.

The committee was also integral in recommending to the Governor the need to completely lockdown some of the many borders in the state in order to concentrate its effort and better manage resources. The Government has since responded by locking down over half of its borders. Finally, the committee has double its efforts to assisting with the provision of palliatives for the old and vulnerable by encouraging donors to contribute trailer loads of food and drinking water. Funds generated by the committee have also been used to support the palliatives drive.

The Journey Ahead

The early successes of the committee can be attributed to the winning collaboration between the state, corporates and citizens, significantly facilitated by the COVID-19 Fund committee. This collaboration has been the gamechanger and silver-lining in the crisis, without which disaster would have inevitable.

The successes recorded are early successes, and it is important to maintain and indeed accelerate the momentum. In this regard, the following are urgent needs that have to be addressed, and for which additional funds will be required:

  • Converting the old dental ward in Ondo University of Medical Sciences to an Infectious Disease ward
  • Purchasing additional PPE for medical and frontline personnel
  • Averting a looming food crisis by contributing towards the palliatives committee food drive
  • Purchasing laboratory reagents and all required to get the 2 labs functional
  • Training of staff including frontline personnel, upgraded lab staff
  • Purchasing of medical and pharmaceutical consumables.

Click here to download a detailed infographics of how the funds are being managed.