Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Covid-19: UN commends Ayade over vaccination of refugees

Cross River state government has been commended by the United Nations for her proactive innovative management of the COVID-19 pandemic which is still ravaging parts of the world.

This was disclosed yesterday in Calabar by the Country Representative of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Chansa Kapaya who commended the state for being the first to vaccinate refugees, having being a wonderful host to over 40,000 refugees from southern Cameroon for years.

Kapaya, who was represented by the Head Of UNHCR Sub Office Mr Tesfaye Bekele said Cross River State has again showed strong leadership by ensuring equity in COVID-19 vaccination, for vaccinating refugees which is the first happening anywhere in the world.

"As at 6pm of Friday, 21st May 2021 at least 720 refugees had been vaccinated and your health workers are still on the field doing more. This is highly commendable globally. I wish other countries and states will emulate Cross River state" he stated.

In her response, the Commissioner for Health and Chairman of the Cross River state COVID-19 response Taskforce, thanked UNHCR for the strong partnership with the Cross River state Government to meet the needs of over 40,000 Cameroonian Refugees in the state. She commended their support to health facilities in host communities as well as their investment in Water and Sanitation project of the state.

 Edu, informed that following the last visit of the Country Representative to the state, Governor Ayade had promised that no one will be left behind in any intervention from the Cross River State Government; whether the are Refugees, indigenes or residents in Cross River state.

In her words, "For us in Cross River state, our goal is to achieve Universal Health Coverage. So whether it is health service or vaccine we will ensure equitable distribution based on needs. We will create universal access to the COVID-19 vaccines for both the citizens, residents and refugees no one will be left behind. Cross Riverians can only be safe when everyone is safe" 

The DG of the primary Health care Development Agency Dr Janet Ekpeyong said "Cross River state is presently leading the country in COVID-19 vaccination exercise we have surpassed our targets, hitting 117% with great recommendations from the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Presidential Taskforce and NPHCDA" we will work harder to ensure all the refugees are covered as directed  by the Commissioner for Health".

 It will be recalled that Governor Ben Ayade working through the Cross River state COVID-19 Response Taskforce headed by Dr Betta Edu started the "No mask No movement" policy and enforcement while ensuring face mask were locally produced at the Cross River state Garment factory from local fabrics but made according to international safety standards, with over two million mask distributed within the state and to other states at the peak of the pandemic.

This Public health policy that changed the global COVID-19 pandemic response was enacted by Governor Ben Ayade in Cross River state even ahead of the recommendations of World Health Organization and the Presidential Taskforce in Nigeria. 

Highlight of the event was the presentation of some COVID-19 response items from UNHCR to support the state Government in its response.