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COVID-19 Pandemic: Cross River State on the world stage again; Becomes first state to vaccinate Refugees against COVID-19

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) commends Cross River state for being the first to vaccinate refugees; says other countries and states should emulate Cross River state

Cross River state has been commended World over for the proactive innovative management of the COVID-19 pandemic which is still ravaging parts of the world. 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 policy and enforcement of the use of Face mask in public places by the general population tagged “No mask No movement” using face mask 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. 

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has highly commended Cross River state for being the first to vaccinate refugees, the thanked Governor Ben Ayade and the people of Cross River state for being wonderful host to over 40,000 refugees from southern Cameroon for years going. The Country Rep of UNHCR Chansa Kapaya who was represented by the Head Of UNHCR Sub Office Mr Tesfaye Bekele says Cross River State has again showed strong leadership by ensuring equity in COVID-19 vaccination, the have vaccinated refugees in Cross River state which is the first happening anywhere. “ as at Friday 6pm at least 720 refugees had been vaccinated and your health workers are still on the field doing more. This is highly commendable globally. other countries and states should emulate Cross River state!” 

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 Cross River state. She commended their support to health facilities in host communities as well as their investment in Water and sanitation project of the state. The Commissioner of Health said following the last visit of the Country Rep to the state, Governor Ben Ayade had promised that no one will be left behind in any intervention from the Cross River state Government; whether the are Refugees, indigenous or residents in Cross River state.

“ 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” - Dr Betta Edu

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”.

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

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