Joe Effiong, Uyo
A conglomeration of healthcare professionals in Akwa Ibom State has threatened to pull out of COVID-19 programme if the state Commissioner for Health, Dr Dominic Ukpong does not resign with immediate effect.
The conglomeration is made up of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Association of Medical Laboratory Scientist of Nigeria (AMLSN), and National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), who on Friday walked out of a meeting convened by Ukpong citing highhandedness and discrimination in the COVID-19 activities.
In their joint press statement signed by Dr Nsikak Nyoyoko, Comrade Patrick Odu. Emelia Eliezer and Dr Akwaowoh Akpabio, state chairmen of NMA, NANNM, AMLSN and PSN, respectively, the group said; “Health professionals will no longer continue to work with him (Ukpong) as we no longer enjoy his leadership of the ministry of health.
“Recall that following the outbreak of COVID-19 globally and within Nigeria, the Conglomeration of Healthcare Professionals in Akwa Ibom State met and issued a communiqué containing a public health advisory to the Akwa Ibom State Government (AKSG) on measures to contain the potential outbreak of COVID-19.
‘While His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel has since adopted some measures suggested for which we thanked him, unfortunately, the handlers of government business particularly the Hon.Commissioner for Health and Commissioner for Information and their media hirelings and lilliputs, decided to declare a war against the very same professionals who would be the first responders in the event of an outbreak of COVID-19 in Akwa Ibom State.
“We also received reports that the Commissioner for Health scolded NMA for uniting with sister professional bodies, to which the NMA leaders stood their grounds. Consequently, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dominic Ukpong called for a meeting of professional bodies in the health sector today Friday 27th March, 2020.”
They said the NMA was not invited to the said meeting because the health commissioner was applying a punitive measure against NMA for partnering sister bodies, and had threatened to walk out of the meeting if the NMA would attend.
“We decry the poor inter-personal relationship of the commissioner for health, Dr Dominic Ukpong with rofessional bodies in the health sector.
“We reject the attempt by the commissioner for health to cause disaffection and bring about disunity among professionals in the health sector. At this point, we historically declare our shared brotherhood with and stand in solidarity with Akwa Ibom State Government and its people on preventing COVID-19.
“ We urge the state government to disregard the commissioner’s well known resort to his allegation of persecution and declare that nobody is fighting the Government of Akwa Ibom State led by the amiable gentleman, His Excellency Governor Udom Emmanuel. We hereby reiterate our complete support to His Excellency Mr.Udom Emmanuel, Governor of Akwa Ibom State.”
They said in order to save the health sector, the conglomeration of healthcare professionals “pass a vote of no confidence on the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dominic Ukpong for his lack of managerial and inter-personal skills, disregard for professionals and professionalism, high-handedness and divisive tendencies, and outright poor management of COVID-19 preparedness.”