Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has challenged the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to take full responsibility in the national response against the COVID-19 pandemic and other public health emergencies as laid out in its establishment Act of 2018.
NMA recalled that NCDC Act empowers the Centre to lead the national response in any public health emergency and coordinate diverse kinds of feedback. Regrettably, the NMA says, the NCDC has been unable to discharge the functions in some states.
NMA President Dr Francis Faduyile said in a statement on Saturday that the Association was concerned that, apart from threats and in some instances, prevention from collecting and testing samples of suspected COVID-19 cases, the pronouncements of some political leaders constitute outright interference in NCDC’s coordination of case treatment for effectiveness and learning lessons.
Dr Faduyile decried the stance of the governments of Kogi and Cross River States to the NCDC’s COVID-19 advisories.
“While it would be welcome news for a ‘no-positive-case’ status in any state or FCT, every state must ensure it is following the testing guideline issued by NCDC. That way, cases are not missed, as that would seriously imperil the national response to controlling COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
He appealed to the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 to investigate the claims of Kogi and Cross River in the interest of safeguarding Nigeria’s public health and to recommend appropriate remedial intervention(s) if necessary to the President.
The NMA also registered its fears about the increasing challenges with testing, notably specimen collection, transport, and inadequate testing kits and testing centres, and placed the responsibility on the PTF and the NCDC to find the fastest workable solutions to fix the challenge, including incorporating the approved private sector laboratories that already have established specimen pick up and transport modalities.
Meanwhile, the NMA said it has directed its members and other healthcare workers to avoid attending to suspected or confirmed COVD-19 cases without appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in their interest, their families and society’s.
It challenged the PTF to direct the Federal Ministry of Health, the NCDC and other employers of doctors and health workers to make arrangements for the provision of an adequate supply of PPEs.
“We have even opted for the local production of PPEs.”