Sen Ekpenyong raises alarm on possible outbreak in IDP camp
By Harris Emanuel, Uyo
Senator representing Akwa Ibom Northwest Senatorial District, Senator Chris Ekpenyong, has raised the alarm over the seeming lack of public health guidance on COVID 19 pandemic as it relates to Nigeria’s Correctional facilities and IDP camps across the country.
Senator Ekpenyong stated this while assessing the vulnerabilities of his constituents in Ikot Ekpene senatorial district with a team of medical experts, adding his team of experts was already on grounds and has carried out health risk assessment of the district.
The former deputy governor disclosed that Nigeria has well over 250 already congested Correctional facilities with about 74, 000 inmates and no fewer than 28,000 staff at the various centers whom he underlined were at risk of jeopardizing the nation’s capacity of combating the outbreak.
Besides, the national lawmaker also expressed worries over the existence of over 1.9 million displaced persons in 245 IDP camps and about 2000 other sites where displaced but vulnerable persons were housed.
He therefore appealed to the presidential task force on the control of the deadly illness to immediately release comprehensive guidelines on the disease as it relates to the inmates in the Correctional Centers and IDP camps across the country.
Senator Ekpenyong also advised the task force to work in tandem with community-based organizations as well, so as to guide them on the ways and manners to monitor those affected by the illness.
‘’These are definitely vulnerable and they would need special attention as a matter of national health security’’, he said.
He added, ‘’There is an urgent need for the government through the Presidential Task Force for the control of the novel Coronavirus (COVID 19) to quickly issue effective, scientific and methodical health guidance on the COVID 19 pandemic as it relates to the affected nearly 2 million inmates and IDP at risk across the country.
‘’My team of experts is already on ground and has just concluded a health risk assessment of the district. It was one of the red flags it raised with regards to the correctional facilities in the district.
‘’I will be most happy to share our findings and support the task force and the State government by providing draft copy of public health guidance on COVID 19 pandemic outbreak as it relates to the correctional facilities and IDP camps within my district and state.’’
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