IBADAN - Oyo State governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, said on Wednesday that the State will explore home-grown solutions towards the prevention and cure of COVID-19.
He stated that the State was not ruling out local solutions to cure the virus, adding that since Nigerians have always had their ways of dealing with flu, catarrh and cough, in ways different from the Western world, the state would explore avenues and find a cure.
He said that he was convinced that Nigerians have the capacity and intellect to look at things that work locally, stating that the State will encourage that.
A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted the governor as saying these on Wednesday, during a briefing after a meeting of the State’s COVID-19 Task Force, held at the Government House, Agodi, Ibadan.
The governor maintained that as part of measures to contain the spread of Coronavirus in Oyo State, the government was already working on the passage of laws that would compel the use of face masks.
He added that the state was also considering rapid and mass testing of residents with efforts to create two additional testing centres already underway.
The governor, who stated that from his experience of the virus, boosting of immunity had an important part to play in overcoming it, said that while the State is seeking home-grown solution, it would continue to defer to experts’ opinions.
Governor Makinde said: “We are looking at local solutions. I know that a lot of people have been calling me all sorts of names on the social media but, from my experience, one thing that I know you have to do to conquer the virus is that you have to boost your immunity. We do have local solutions and, of course, we have to defer to experts’ opinion as part of the home-grown solution to deal with COVID-19.
“People may ask if we have been funding the research institutes very well. They may even ask if we are in a position to bring any kind of solution to the world. My answer is yes. Even chewing something like bitter-cola. When the Western world is having flu season, they have flu shots. But here, we have things like catarrh. When we are crossing over from dry season to rainy season, people almost always fall sick. Cold, cough, catarrh, we have ways of dealing with all of these locally.
“So, except a solution comes from the Western or Eastern world, I won’t say that we cannot deal with it. I believe we have the capacity. We have the intellect to look at things that work locally and we will keep encouraging that. We have the capacity to also validate some of the results that we are going to be getting.
“They did clinical trials for chloroquine and some other medications but these are things we take normally here. So, we are not ruling out local solution to this pandemic.”
The governor, who commended the members of the Oyo State COVID-19 Task Force for its hard work, explained that the isolation process for the two new confirmed cases of COVID-19 had already been initiated and that contact tracing and collection of samples have commenced.
He said: “We have made arrangement to decontaminate the Oyo State Secretariat and this will take place next week; between Monday, April 13th and Wednesday, April 15th. Thereafter, the secretariat will be opened on Monday, April 20th.
“The team in charge of the decontamination are sending letters to religious leaders, traditional rulers, private organisations to decontaminate their facilities, using standardised contaminants. “We are also considering rapid testing, two additional centres to enable us map behaviour of the virus as far as the state is concerned.
“The NCDC protocol is being followed at the approved virology laboratory in UCH. For those two additional centres, they discussed a protocol to be followed and I believe the experts are working on that. Once we have alignment on the protocol to be followed, we will roll this out, and our aspiration to test up to 10,000 people in Oyo State within the shortest possible time will be realized. The modelling of the state epidemiologist will help us decide the next step regarding the curfew and reopening of schools.”
While addressing the issue of palliatives for the vulnerable in the State, Governor Makinde maintained that the State would begin the distribution of palliatives within the next one week, stating, however, that the palliatives will target the poorest of the poor.
The governor said: “We will roll out palliatives for the poorest of the poor within the next one week.
“We are also working on a law to make the wearing of mask in public compulsory as one of the measures to slow down the spread of the virus. I know that, sometimes, it may not be comfortable but if we have to go through the discomfort to slow down the virus from spreading, we will make laws to ensure this is done.”
Makinde also used the opportunity to appreciate corporate organisations and individuals who have been donating to the state’s COVID-19 Endowment Fund, stating that the state has already realised close to N200 million.
“I will like to appreciate all those who have donated to the state’s Endowment Fund for COVID-19. We were told in the meeting by the Commissioner for Finance that we have realised close to 200 million Naira and people are still donating. We have gone round this afternoon to check on the food items that have been donated.
“So, I want to use this opportunity to thank everyone that has given us support and pitched in to help us fight this pandemic. And for those who are yet to donate or support us, this is an opportunity to do so.
“On behalf of the government and the people of Oyo State, I say thank you once again. And I also thank those who are thinking about it and yet to bring their support, because I know they will eventually do the needful,” he said.