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Ondo health commissioner allegedly dies of COVID-19

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•Kogi loses official to diabetes, FG urges service

Shortly after Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu ordered his cabinet members to test for coronavirus, the Ondo State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Wahab Adegbenro, has allegedly died of the pandemic.

The Guardian learnt that the official gave up the ghost yesterday at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owo, while the governor is still in isolation. A family source disclosed that the late commissioner fainted in his clinic, located in Akure, while treating a patient, before being rushed to Owo.

According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Ondo has recorded 325 cases, 110 recoveries and 20 deaths, including the commissioner’s. However, the unconfirmed report had it that six state Assembly members and some top government functionaries had tested positive for the virus.

A high-ranking official, who pleaded anonymity, disclosed that the appointees had gone for testing to ascertain their status. The late Adegbenro was also the state chairman of the Inter-ministerial Committee on Coronavirus.

Efforts to reach the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Donald Ojogo, for comments were futile, as he neither picked his calls nor responded to a text message to his phone at press time.

But the chairman of the House Committee on Information, Gbenga Omole, refuted the claims that some members of the 26-man legislature had contracted the disease. In a related development, the Kogi government yesterday announced the loss of an official, Siaka Oyibo, to diabetes

The Commissioner for Information and Communications, Kingsley Fanwo, in a statement, said the 69-year-old was chairman of the state Security Trust Fund, adding that the deceased had been buried according to Islamic rites.

The demise comes four days after the passage of the Chief Judge, Justice Nasiru Ajanah. Also yesterday, the Federal Government y said it would be a serious setback if medical services, especially emergency ones, begin to deteriorate in the wake of COVID-1.It warned that efforts to contain the disease must not underrate other deadly ailments.

President Muhammadu Buhari has also ordered the installation of GeneXpert diagnostic machines at the National Hospital, Abuja, for seamless detection of the ailment. The facilities deliver results within an hour.

The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, who made the disclosure at a meeting with chief medical directors (CMDs) of government hospitals in Abuja, lamented he was being inundated with reports of sick persons being rejected by hospitals, adding that many had died owing to lack of attention.

Describing the situation as unacceptable, Ehanire stated that government couldn’t continue to its citizens to such undesirable circumstances. His words: “We have gathered here today (yesterday) to address a matter that is becoming a serious and unhappy concern to the society at large. I am talking of the frequency of reports of very sick persons being rejected and abandoned by our hospitals. Our calling as doctors and health workers is to save lives. We cannot at this time abandon a divine responsibility, especially in case of emergency, when our service is most needed.

“We know that not all emergencies are COVID-19, and we know that our professional oaths oblige us to save lives, and do something for those who come to us for help.”

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