COVID-19 : NMA writes President Buhari over situation in Kogi state, seeks intervention
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has expressed worries over the way and manner the Kogi State government is handling the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to call the State Governor and his officials to order immediately and also issue an order granting unfettered access and protection to NCDC officials into Kogi State and do all that is necessary to contain COVID-19.
Noting that the coronavirus disease is gaining a serious foothold in the State, the association urged the president to also order that testing facilities be cited in the Army Barracks or any secured location free from the encumbrances posed by the State government.
President of NMA, Dr Francis Faduyile who made the appeal in an SOS massage to Buhari yesterday in Abuja, noted that the association has repeatedly called on all Nigerians to avail the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) an agency of government established by an Act of the National Assembly unimpeded access and assistance to render its duties but the Kogi State government stoutly resisted this advisory to the dismay of our Association.
Faduyile observed that the Kogi State government has hardened its heart and ensured that the Kogi people remain in the dark, untested adding that the people are therefore undiagnosed and untreated even though COVID-19 epidemiologic pattern has 80% of cases that present with none or very mild symptoms yet shedding the virus in their airway and innocently infecting others who may become sick and die.
The NMA President lamented that one of the patients said to be a known community, and religious leader referred from the Federal Medical Centre Lokoja was diagnosed with COVID-19 at the National Hospital Abuja but the association is incredibly disturbed by the response of the Kogi State government through the State Commissioner of Information.
According to him, “The Commissioner not only described the process of arriving at the diagnosis as fraudulent, but he also went on to smear the frontline Health workers and the NCDC on live national television.
He said,” His use of profane words is capable of demoralising the exemplary gold-winning health workers and the untiring NCDC, which possibly can lead to a national catastrophe. The identification of these cases is through testing, according to standardised protocols.The implied consequences of these unbecoming actions are what the Nigerian Medical Association condemns. The attitude of the Kogi State government is both ignorantly meddlesome and irresponsible. It is a demonstration of undisguised hatred against the people it swore to protect and nurture”.
“The State government need reminding that the NCDC is empowered to “prevent, detect, monitor and control” activities and programs for the national response against infectious disease epidemics and other public health emergencies; and also, to “lead, develop, coordinate” these activities in the country.This advisory has become necessary even as the nation is considering the further easing of the lockdown given the fact that Kogi State borders eleven (11) other states of the Federation and Lokoja, the State capital, a significant road transport interchange. We remind Nigerian citizens to take personal responsibility for their safety and protection from COVID-19 now than ever before”.
Faduyile restate that on no account should healthcare professionals at any health facility in Kogi state or elsewhere be harassed or intimidated on account of rendering avowed services as it relates to appropriate management of COVID-19 patients and urged health workers to continue to perform their functions, and strongly advise them to protect themselves first before treating and saving others.