Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State has inaugurated an 11- man Project Steering Committee of the Nigeria COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Project (Co-PREP), assuring of his administration’s commitment to adhere to the federal government’s guidelines and International best practices in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
He gave the assurance during the inauguration held at Government House, Enugu.
Represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Prof. Simon Uchenna Ortuanya, Ugwuanyi disclosed that the committee will oversee the implementation of Co-PREP projects at the state level, and review and approve the state’s Incident Action Plan (IAP) for onward transmission to the Project Coordinating Unit (PCU).
He said that the steering committee headed by the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Emmanuel Ikechukwu Obi, will also review progress reports and oversee the State Coordinating Unit (SCU) to ensure timely implementation of the project, as well as “ensure that financing from Nigeria Co-PREP complements financing from other sources and are efficiently utilized”.
According to him, Enugu, like other states, has faced critical challenges since the outbreak of the pandemic, the SSG pointed out that Ugwuanyi’s administration has “built five COVID-19 isolation and treatment centres, set up a 100 bed-space Isolation Centre at the Medical Diagnostic Centre, Enugu, and constructed an Infectious Diseases Specialist Hospital”.
He said that Enugu State needs more health facilities to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that the state government has continued to collaborate with NCDC and Development Partners to ensure the availability of adequate infrastructure for timely case detection and management, and to build capacity of the public health and clinical workforce.
“It is flowing from the above that the World Bank has approved a $114.28m financing, to help Nigeria prevent, detect and respond to the threat posed by COVID-19, with specific focus on state level responses.
“This includes $100m credit from the International Development Association (IDA) and $14.28m grant from the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility.
“Through the COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Project (Co-PREP) the Government of Nigeria will provide grants to 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as immediate support, to break the chain of COVID-19 local transmission as well as limit the spread of Coronavirus through containment and mitigation strategies.
“Co-PREP will enhance the institutional and operational capacity for disease detection through provision of technical expertise, coordination support, detection, diagnosis and case management efforts in all states and the FCT as per the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines in the Strategic Response Plan.
“It will also help the Government mobilize surge response capacity through trained and well equipped frontline healthcare workers and strengthen the public healthcare network for future health emergencies”, he explained.
Members of the committee are Adaorah Kene-Uyanwune (Commissioner for Finance); Dr. David Okelue Ugwunta (Commissioner for Budget and Planning); Chidi Aroh (Commissioner for Information); Prof. Ed. Nwobodo (Rep. State COVID-19 Task Force); Dr. Ifeanyi Agujiobi (Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health); and Dr. Boniface Okolo (Emergency Operation Centre Incident Manager, State Ministry of Health).
Other members are Dr. George Ugwu (Executive Secretary, Enugu State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (ENSPHCDA); Dr. Edith Okolo (Executive Secretary, Enugu State Agency for Universal Health Coverage); Dr. Ada Erinne (Rep. World Health Organization) and Dr. Ifeyinwa Anyanyo (Rep. United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund).
In their acceptance speech, Chairman of the Committee, Dr. Obi, on behalf of other members, commended Ugwuanyi for his steadfastness in constituting the committee in furtherance of his administration’s concerted efforts towards the containment of the virus in the state.
He thanked the governor for finding them worthy to undertake the assignment and promised that they will not disappoint the government and people of Enugu State.