By Ifeanyi Olannye
Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta says the state government will partner with the World Bank in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
The governor said this on Thursday when he inaugurated the State Project Steering Committee of the Nigeria COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Project (Co-PREP), at the Government House, Asaba.
Okowa, represented by his Deputy, Deacon Kingsley Otuaro, said that the committee would oversee the implementation of Co-PREP projects at the state level.
He said the steering committee headed by the Commissioner for Health, Dr Mordi Ononye, would review progress reports and oversee the State Coordinating Unit (SCU) to ensure timely implementation of the project.
Okowa said the state government would continue to collaborate with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and development partners to ensure availability of adequate infrastructure for timely case detection and management.
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He said: “The outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in the early part of 2020 was an ill-wind that blew the world no good.
“As a state we did all in our power to respond accordingly to the pandemic in terms of what we were meant to do as directed by the NCDC.
“We are thankful to God almighty that the pandemic from all indication even though not completely gone is subsiding, it is our prayer that it should go completely in no distant time.
“It requires us to remain alert, keep our guards and respond adequately giving the information and knowledge that the COVID-19 has different variants and various ways it could be contracted.”
He said the inauguration of the vommittee was in pursuant of the state government’s partnership with the World Bank to fight the pandemic.
“This is World Bank assisted project meant to be implemented by the collaboration of the various states in the country and the NCDC to be able to access the grant made available by the World Bank.
“This grant is only accessible on the condition that certain criteria are met and so the inauguration of the committee is an integral part of the requirements by the World Bank,” Okowa said.
Responding, Ononye thanked the governor for finding them worthy to contribute their quota in keeping in check the ravaging pandemic in the state.
Ononye pledged the readiness of the committee members to deliver on the task ahead.
Members of the committee are Chief Fidelis Tilije (Commissioner for Finance); Dr Barry Pere-Gbe (Commissioner for Economic Planning); Mr Charles Aniagwu (Commissioner for Information) and Evelyn Oboro (Commissioner for Water Resources).
Others are Dr Ejiro Ogheneaga (Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health); Dr Jude Winful-Orieke (Executive Secretary, Delta State Primary Healthcare Development Agency; Dr R.O. C. Ikwuogwu (Emergency Operations Centre, Incident Manager); and Professor Ehimario Igumbor. (NAN)