NMA Expresses Displeasure at Impedance of NCDC Workers by Kogi, Cross River States Govt.

May 14 19:25 2020

As Nigeria records its 5000th COVID-19 positive case, NMA makes the following observations and proffers the accompanying solutions;
The Association has noted with displeasure the continued obstruction of the National Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) by the governments of Kogi and Cross River State. This impedance is despite the lofty provisions in the NCDC Establishment Act (2018) which empower the organization to “prevent, detect, monitor and control” activities and programs for the national response against infectious diseases epidemics and other public health emergencies; and also to “lead, develop, coordinate” these activities. NMA views this development as unfortunate, condemnable and requires urgent intervention by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The acceptance of the herbal remedy from Madagascar ‘Covid Organics’ by the Federal Government is an act of pulling all stops in search of remedial interventions in protecting the lives of our citizens. We appreciate the concerns of our colleagues in the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) and bemoan the situation where Nigeria appears to be lagging and not leading the Black race’s response against the pandemic. NMA insists that the herbal mixture undergoes due diligence based on scientific methods before authorizing its use in the polity while urging the government to leapfrog the revitalization of research and production activities of our pharmaceutical industries.
The Association is carefully studying the overall impact of the newly approved WHO’s home treatment policy for COVID-19 patients. While accepting the noticeable acute shortage of bed spaces available at the designated centres, NMA cautions that the peculiarities in Nigeria should be taken into consideration and therefore urges FG to adapt this new regulation. Nigeria has an average of six (6) persons per household; and consequently, wholesale adoption of this guideline may not be applicable here. We risk an explosive regime of community transmission if we adopt the guidelines completely without modifications, especially in situations of poor housing and overcrowding.
Following from (3) above, NMA is of the firm conviction that revamping our abandoned General Hospitals and Primary Health Centres (PHCs) will mitigate the challenges with home treatment and acute shortage of bed spaces. We still maintain that Isolation and Treatment centres should stand alone to avoid the nosocomial spread of this infection especially in settings of poor hygiene practices.
While the NCDC has carried out only 29,400 tests, as at 14th May 2020, we appreciate the reasons advanced for the ‘smart testing’ option by the NCDC. However, it has become apparent that this method has not revealed the real incidence of COVID-19 in Nigeria. NMA, therefore, advocates fast-tracking of testing using innovative specimen collection and transport modalities to ameliorate this deficit in technique.
NMA appreciates quite immensely the Coalition against COVID-19 (CA-COVID) which is a coalition of corporate Nigeria mobilizing resources to mitigate the embarrassing infrastructural deficiencies in the health sector for the management of the outbreak. We appeal that they extend their humanitarian and patriotic gesture outside Abuja to other parts of the Federation as promised, especially the States with high incidence. NMA also calls on the Coalition not to abandon healthcare delivery to the government alone post-COVID as the current pandemic has exposed several deficiencies in the system.
Nigerian Medical Association expresses her immense gratitude to her members and all the health workers in Nigeria for rising to the occasion as always to rescue the country in times of health crises. We appreciate you all whether at the very ‘war front’ of treating non-COVID-19 patients or near the battleground preventing the spread of infections to all others and saving the lives of citizens, especially women and children. The NMA notes that circularizing, gazette and implementing the incentives promised by the Federal Government is not negotiable as it would motivate the workforce. We, however, still urge you all to continue to do your best within the scope of available resources while keeping safe by observing all the Infection Control and prevention protocols.
Healthcare delivery is a chain as is the workforce; at this time of crises, there should be no weakened part. We thank the State governments that have announced incentive packages for their employees but call on them to start implementation without delay while demanding that the defaulting ones to expedite action.
In conclusion, Nigeria using all available human resources has the potentials of emerging victorious and minimally scathed by COVID-19 and any other health challenge. We restate our commitment as custodians of our health sector while expecting more extensive opportunities for a collaborative partnership with relevant authorities in the efforts to defeat COVID-19 in Nigeria.

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