The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has warned that there is likely to be an even more devastating second wave of coronavirus in Adamawa and other states in the country due to the non-compliance to COVID-19 health guidelines.
A technical adviser in the implementation of NCDC's action plan in Adamawa State, Fahad Mohammed, who dropped the hint during the sensitisation of officials of the Nigerian police, civil defence, immigration and correctional services, and road safety personnel in Yola, said that the NCDC was driven to ensure more persons are tested so that the spread of this deadly disease can be addressed and tamed.
Mr Mohammed explained that the biggest concern was that people are not taking tests, "because some of them do not believe that the pandemic is real and that is why we have a low number of positive cases.
"Where you observe low numbers, it means tests are not being undertaken and if you are doing a lot of tests and getting negative results, then you ask who are the people being tested? What is the criteria?" he noted.
The NCDC official, who expressed serious concern with the low testing for COVID-19 in the state, revealed that "there are about seven LGs in Adamawa where testing has never taken place. You can't say there is no such disease in the areas
"There is serious concern, (though we don't pray and God forbid) that there is likely to be even more devastating second wave of coronavirus in Adamawa and other states due to the non-compliance to COVID-19 health guidelines and people declining tests," he warns.
Disturbed by this trend, Mr Mohammed stated that NCDC is set to open testing centres in each of the 21 local governments of Adamawa State in its drive to ensure more persons are tested.
"So the new move will allow us to know the true story of infections in the state. In the next one two or three months, we shall finish the target test of one per cent of the population of the state.
"We will open test centres in all the local governments of Adamawa State. These test centres will allow residents to get tested seamlessly and obtain results in two to three days.
"We want to test at least one per cent of the population of the state after which we will plot the graphs and we shall tell the people whether we are flattening the curve or not.
"NCDC has deployed its staff to all the states to support states' response to the COVID-19. We want to know the status of these states.
"We want to know the challenges. We had a meeting with security operatives including police, road safety and soldiers so as to tell them our positions.
"We want them to help us in enforcing some of the measures the states will bring in the near future.
"We tell them to enforce compliance with the usage of face masks, observing social distancing at events and preventing large gatherings.
"We have educated them on that so that they can escalate the message to their respective institutions. We want to enhance testing in such a way a person can get himself COVID-19 tested the way he could obtain a malaria test. We want to take it to all the hospitals," he said.
He noted that the reason behind NCDC's enhanced testing arises from concerns that the country is approaching the harmattan season, coupled with the fact that some states will in no distant time face flooding, which naturally comes with its own challenges such as cholera, diarrhoea and others.
"We shall continue to sensitise the populace that COVID-19 is real and there is no cure yet."
In his goodwill message, Banu Phatek, UNICEF chief of the field, Bauchi office, noted that the most important reason why the sensitisation is organized is to tell the people that COVID-19 is real and still causing havoc on lives and economies of countries across the globe.
To this end, Mr Phatek urged the people to continue to embrace the minimum preventive protocols and urged all participants to take down the message to their various organizations.
Responding, Adamawa State commissioner of health, Abdullahi Isa, commended UNICEF and other sponsors for the sensitisation workshop, noting that it will go a long way in convincing people to take the right actions.
The commissioner represented by the director of disease control in the ministry, Bolki Dilli, said that informed the government's decision to sensitise the security personnel as well as other stakeholders.
While urging residents to continue to observe the non-pharmaceutical measures put in place by NCDC to guard against the spread of the disease including wearing of face masks, observing social distancing, and avoidance of large gatherings, he explained that the state government is working to ensure that at least three more testing centres are opened across the three senatorial zones.
"We will go to all nooks and crannies to sensitise people. Currently, we have only one testing centre provided by NCDC. We are working to provide one in each zone that is, one in Mubi, one in Numan, one in specialist hospital Yola, and probably one in Ganye," he said.