By Bode Olushegun
Borno Governor, Prof. Babagana Umaru Zulum, on Tuesday, moved to guard against possibly spread of coronavirus to internally-displaced persons (IDPs) camps in the state.
The Governor convened a multi-stakeholders’ meeting in Maiduguri where a response plan was adopted.
At the meeting were senior officials of the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations’ Children Fund (UNICEF), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Agency (UNHCR), United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), United Nations Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA), international non governmental Organizations (iNGOs) involved in humanitarian interventions.
Also at the meeting were representatives of the Maiduguri International Airport, the Nigerian Immigration Service, Borno State Emergency Management Agency and the state’s ministries of health, education, transport and local government and emirate affairs.
The Governor’s chief of staff, Dr Babagana Wakil, who chaired the meeting that lasted three hours, was expected to present the proposed response plan adopted by all stakeholders to his boss.
A statement by the Special Adviser on Public Relations and Strategy to the Governor, Malam Isa Gusau, said Borno commissioner of health, Dr Salisu Kwayabura, during the meeting, presented a detailed medical response plan prepared by his ministry in collaboration with agencies of the UN that specialize in public health management.
He said the response plan identified health preventive measures already in place at the Maiduguri international airport and those in place to secure densely populated camps occupied by internally-displaced persons, students in public schools and other parts of the state. The response plan however agreed not to take measures that will create panic among citizens.
The response plan adopted some measures proposed by the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in enforcing strict pandemic control measures on all its foreign humanitarian workers in line with the travel ban placed by the Nigerian government as well as international best practices normally observed by all UN affiliates.
The response plan also identified measures in all border communities across Borno State where persons coming into Nigeria through land boarders are subjected to medical screening.
The plan also identified ways to engage religious and traditional bodies in aggressive public enlightenment on some control measures that will be announced during the week.