THE UNITED STATES COMMISSIONS UPGRADED COVID-19 EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER IN AKWA IBOM STATE NIGERIA
On the 23rd of June 2020, the U.S Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard joined the Government of Akwa Ibom State represented by the Secretary to the State Government of Akwa Ibom State Emmanuel E. Ekuwem in the virtual commissioning of a newly instituted Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for the State. Also present at the EOC during the commissioning were the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Health – Dr. Dominic Ukpong, State Epidemiologist – Dr Ntiense Udoette and key members of the State COVID-19 task force.
The Setup of the Communication Call Center and Covid-19 Situation rooms within the EOC – situated in the Akwa Ibom was carried out with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through the Reaching Impact, Saturation and Epidemic Control (RISE) project led by Jhpiego and in collaboration with Data Fi working closely with the Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Health.
The Emergency Operation Center will serve citizens in the State by facilitating the seamless coordination and integration of state government actions to both curb and contain the spread of the virus. This state of the art center will enable centralized, real-time monitoring and predictive modelling for enhanced coordination of activities and informed decision-making during the COVID-19 pandemic and other public health emergencies.
“With the commissioning of these EOCs, Nigeria can better coordinate the COVID-19 outbreak response and surveillance activities, as well as any other emergent disease outbreaks or disasters,” Ambassador Leonard said. “They will help turn the tide of the pandemic within their states, ultimately the nation, and flatten the COVID-19 curve.”
While giving his remarks, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem stated that “The COVID-19 pandemic which is ravaging the world today has been an eye-opener for us to review our health policies and provide matching infrastructure”. He also espoused on the vision of the State Government for the 22-room facility which houses the EOC situation room and communications center, also comprises a conference hall, 4 call rooms and other amenities. “The vision of the State Government is that the EOC will be a hub, not just for COVID-19 response but for all other medical emergencies and security challenges as it will have coordinating facilities” said Dr Emmanuel E Ekuwem.
Dr Dominic Ukpong the State Commissioner for Health who was also present at the EOC during the launch, appreciated the continued support of the USG through Jhpiego and other partners. He stated that the establishment of the EOC – communications center inclusive – will facilitate 24-hour functionality and enable the State have a faster response time as it concerns COVID-19 and several other diseases of public health interest.
USAID remains committed to working with the Akwa Ibom State Government and Federal Government of Nigeria in their response to COVID-19 pandemic, mitigating its impact while supporting Nigeria’s journey to self-reliance.