Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari, to issue an Executive Order to enforce total shut down of the country, as part of measures to contain community transmission of dreaded coronavirus in Nigeria.
The Association was unhappy that some states are vacillating on the closure of schools, banning social and religious gatherings, basking in the euphoria that there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in their States, suggesting uniformity in implementing the lock down orders on non-essential services.
NMA President, Dr. Francis Faduyile, in a statement released in Abuja, on Thursday, recalled that World Health Organisation (WHO) had advised nations with weak health system which Nigeria falls under, to make early preparations to contain the pandemic, but unfortunately little efforts or measures was put in place by Nigerian government to contain the spread of the Coronavirus.
He expressed displeasure with the way government has been handling the coronavirus situation in Nigeria, which, he said, has led to increased spread of the virus in Nigeria.
The umbrella body of medical doctors in Nigeria specifically mentioned that relevant federal and states’ authorities are working independently as regards response to the global pandemic, thus leaving several grounds uncovered.
He suggested a more result oriented situation where federal and states government are comparing notes, sharing intelligence and taking a uniform stand on issues like modalities for effective implementation of interrupting the chain of transmission (social distancing), case detection, contact tracing and self- isolation.
He insisted on immediate enforcement of supervised self-isolation in manner that will protect public health. “This would ensure that returnees from countries with high prevalence adhere to instructions and confine themselves to a location in order to protect members of the public.
“There should be physical visits by designated officials to the returnees to track their locations, taking their vital signs and their contacts rather than voluntary isolation. Also, there should be strategic partnership/collaboration with states and relevant organisations on day-to-day basis as any weak link in the chain can rubbish efforts of stronger parts,” he said.
It further laments the absence of purpose built isolation centres, unlike in the past where Infectious Diseases Hospitals existed in every states of the federation.
NMA however appreciated the sacrifice of its members and other health care workers who have continued to work despite the stark reality of being in the frontline in the war against COVID-19.
“We urge governments at all levels to ensure the availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and other incentives that would motivate the health work force to give in their best in this situation,” it added.