Coronavirus: Nigerian Senate seeks more funding for NCDC
The Nigerian Senate on Thursday urged the Federal Government to allocate more funds to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
The funds, the lawmakers said, will be used to acquire “the latest and most recent equipment that there is for research and diagnosis of tropical diseases disrupting human existence as prevention is always better and cheaper than cure”.
This is a response to the rapid spread of deadly Coronavirus across the world.
Coronavirus is a type of common virus that infects humans and seven different types of the virus have been identified to be spread through the air by coughing, sneezing, personal contact, touching an object or surface contaminated with the virus. It is mainly characterized by running nose and sore throat.
Public health agencies around the world have been on high alert since the report of the outbreak of the virus in China.
It started from Wuhan province in December and as of January 28, has spread across all provinces except one in the vast country.
The disease has also been exported to about 15 countries and there are uncertainties as to how many countries would be reporting confirmed cases of the disease any time soon.
Already, most cities in China are already on lockdown due to the rapid spread of the virus and millions of people in the country have been quarantined. As at last count, the death toll in China has risen to 106 and more cases are still being reported.
The call for increased funding was one of the resolutions taken by the lawmakers after debating on a Point of Order raised by Chukwuka Utazi (PDP, Enugu).
The call comes barely 24 hours after the federal government advised Nigerians and non-Nigerians planning to travel to China to suspend their trips, if possible, until further notice.
The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, had said Nigeria will not be stopping passengers from China from entering the country once they have been screened at the airport, in the wake of the outbreak of Coronavirus.
In his presentation, Mr Utazi noted that the NCDC has closely monitored the outbreak and the aviation regulatory agency have stepped up surveillance operating at the international airport.
This, he said, they have done in a bid to contain coronavirus while collaborating with the federal government travel advisory.
The lawmakers commended the Federal Ministry of Health through the NCDC for its efforts at stemming the Coronavirus Infection in Nigeria and urge them never to lower their guard until this fight is won internationally and here in Nigeria.
The Senate also advised Nigerians desirous of travelling to Asia, especially to China, to heed the federal government travel advisory and put their travel arrangements on hold till the virus is over.
This is even as it tasked the Federal Ministry of Aviation to ensure that persons arriving from China or any country that had the major disease outbreak, self-isolate by staying indoors.
Nigerians were told to report any case or cases, likely infections or with symptoms that are approximate with those of the Coronavirus to visit the hospital for health check and advised to wash their two hands with soap preferably from a running tap.