COVID-19: US, Cross River government commission Emergency Operations Center

Mnena Iyorkegh, Abuja.

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Dr. Douglas Chukwu, Cross River State team lead for USAID partner Jhpiego, conducts a virtual tour of the new Emergency Operations Center for U.S. Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard and Cross River Deputy Governor Evara Esu.

The United States and the Cross River State Government have commissioned an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Cross River State to help track and control the spread of the deadly COVID-19.

The  U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) says the $1.1 million (₦427 million) project is to upgrade and expand the capacity of the nine EOCs to strengthen the COVID-19 response in Nigeria.

Saying this was in line with priorities set by Nigeria’s Center for Disease Control (NCDC).

According to U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard: “The upgraded centers are equipped as operational digital situation and communication rooms that power and coordinate the state COVID-19 response and other disease outbreaks, utilizing data integration, warehousing and visualization to provide state officials transparent and real-time information on COVID-19.”

Ambassador Leonard also explains that: “With the commissioning of these EOCs, Nigeria can better coordinate the COVID-19 outbreak response and surveillance activities, as well as any other emergent disease outbreaks or disasters.

They will also help turn the tide of the pandemic within their states, ultimately the nation, and flatten the COVID-19 curve.

Over the last two decades, the United States has invested more than $8 billion (₦3.1 trillion) in the Nigerian health sector. 

These upgrades have helped seamlessly and creatively transform previous investments and experiences to support Nigeria’s COVID response by leveraging the existing PEPFAR, tuberculosis, and other health investments.”

These investments include boosting laboratory capacity, establishing mega labs, procuring diagnostic machines, augmenting sample transport, enhancing contact tracing, mobilizing risk management communications, and fine-tuning data analytics, outbreak management, and monitoring.

In his response, the Deputy Governor, Cross River State, Evara Esu explained “Though Cross River continues to have no documented cases, there is need to be on guard to do even more to ensure the COVID-19 pandemic is controlled and brought to a speedy end.

“We however want to seize this opportunity to continually invite health practitioners to come to Cross River and strengthen our health system.  We really appreciate this support.”

Cross River State, is the first of nine states to receive the EOC upgrades.

Other states supported by USAID for the upgrades include Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Cross River, Edo, Kano, Niger, and Oyo.

Suzan O