By Sodiq Yusuf
The State Government of Osun will soon embark on active case search to assess the level of community transmission of the novel Coronavirus in the state.
According to the state’s Commissioner for Health, Dr Rafiu Isamotu, the active case search entails going into neighbourhoods and communities to test people for the COVID-19 as being done in Lagos State.
Isamotu, in an interview with Bioreports yesterday disclosed that the government was putting in place necessary logistics for a hitch-free exercise, including test, quarantine and admission of those tested positive for the virus.
He noted that the new 150-bed isolation centre inaugurated by Governor Adegboyega Oyetola last week will further help the state in its quest to prepare for any emergency, adding that efforts were also in place to improve the testing capacity of the State of Osun.
Isamotu explained: “I believe we need more isolation centres. I have no doubt in my mind that by the time we begin what we call active case search, they would be very useful. There are a few other things we need to put in place. The only place we do our test is the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) accredited Centre in Ede. We want to increase the testing capacity and the test centers we are using.
“I know Osun State University (UNIOSUN) is working on something similar, ditto for the Ladoke Akintola University (LAUTECH). NCDC has promised to help us configure the machine we use to diagnose people with tuberculosis. By the time we do that and we begin active testing, we would have the place and the needed materials to treat those that return positive.”
The Commissioner for health asserted that the state needed community testing to ascertain the level of spread of the pandemic; with a call on the people to provide the needed support to health workers when the process begins.
He said: “When we go into the communities, into people’s homes to look for people that would certify case definition of those that need to be tested, obviously, we are going to have an awful number of people that would be positive for COVID-19. By the time we do that and we have no place to put them, it would be scandalous and shameful.
“Nobody prays that we have an exponential increase in the number of people that would have the virus, but if you look at the number of cases in Lagos, you will have your fear. If they had not gone in the view of active case search, a lot of people would just be dropping dead and we would have an underlining pathological mobility. Look at what happened in Kano, we do not want such to happen in Osun. We want to be overprepared rather than be underprepared.
“Our people need to know what is happening in the western world, those who have capacity and capability to contain this thing are sweating. What capacity do we have in Nigeria and Africa? The most important thing is that within the limit of what we have, we should just be prepared.
“Nobody likes to fail. We do not want to fail in our state, we want to be overprepared and if things now become easy, absolutely, we have nothing to lose.”