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Akwa Ibom State has three suspected cases of COVID-19

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NMA laments lack of equipped isolation centre in C’River

No fewer than six patients, who were held on suspicion that they have contracted COVID-19 in Akwa Ibom State, were yesterday cleared and discharged from the Isolation Centre at the Ibom Specialist Hospital, Uyo.

Of the number, three of those discharged were from the first five index cases earlier reported in the state.However, Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dominic Ukpong, disclosed at a media briefing that two of the initial five index cases and the additional case as announced by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) yesterday brought the number of COVID-19 patients under watch in the state to three.

In a related development, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in Cross River State has lamented that the state has only 33 doctors as it bemoaned lack of equipped isolation centre to fight coronavirus.

NMA expressed disappointment over the manner in which the state government was handling the health sector in spite the COVID-19 pandemic.In a statement issued by its state Chairman, Dr. Agam Ayuk and Secretary, Dr. Ezoke Epoke, the NMA complained that the state currently has no Isolation centre, adding that the four-bed capacity Isolation Unit at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) was the Infectious Diseases Ward of the Department of Microbiology.

Ayuk explained that a report submitted by the Central Working Committee of Health Professionals in the state to the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Betta Edu, called the state government attention to the fact that the isolation centre lacked basic facilities, equipment and accessories based on Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) specifications.

He said the interview granted by the Commissioner for Health on AIT on April 14, 2020, in which she claimed that the state government has 105 doctors, was misleading and a misrepresentation of a critical issue in the state’s health sector.

“For the avoidance of doubt, we have attached the distribution of Cross River doctors across the various state facilities reaffirming our position of 33 doctors in the state civil service.

“The number of doctors in the state civil service is the least in the country. A doctor in Cross River Civil Service earns 46-54 per cent of what his or her colleague earns across the country.

“Doctors in Cross River are the least paid in the country. It is, therefore, difficult to engage or retain this critical workforce. We, therefore, urge the state government to use this period of COVID-19 pandemic to address the human resource capacity and other deficits in the health sector,” he stated.


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