Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has sent a “Save Our Soul” message to President Muhammadu Buhari to rescue the people of Kogi state from imminent major health crisis that may be caused by undetected COVID-19 pandemic.
NMA, which is the umbrella body of medical doctors in Nigeria, suggested that the President should immediately issue an order granting unfettered access and protection to officials of the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) into Kogi State to enable them conduct COVID-19 testing and other related activities in the state.
NMA President, Dr. Francis Faduyile, in a statement released in Abuja, on Friday, said the suggestion became necessary following strong resistance by the Kogi state government to allow NCDC officials carry out COVID-19 testing amid signs of the disease in the state. Faduyile expressed his unhappiness that the Kogi State government has continued to ensure that Kogi people remain in the dark, uninformed and untested for COVID-19.
“The people are therefore undiagnosed and untreated even though COVID-19 epidemiologic pattern has 80 percent of cases that present with none or very mild symptoms yet shedding the virus in their airway and innocently infecting others who may become sicker and die. The identification of these cases is through testing, according to standardised protocols”, he added. He suggested that testing facilities be set up in the Army Barracks or any other secured location free from the encumbrances posed by the State government. The NMA President condemned the statement credited to the state commissioner for information in which he allegedly described the coronavirus diagnosis process as fraudulent.
“His use of profane words is capable of demoralising the exemplary gold-winning health workers and the untiring NCDC, which possibly can lead to a national catastrophe. We insist that on no account should healthcare professionals at any health facility in Kogi state or elsewhere be harassed or intimidated on account of rendering avowed services as it relates to appropriate management of COVID-19 patients. “We call on our colleagues and other health workers to continue to perform their functions, and strongly advise them to protect themselves first before treating and saving others”, he stated.