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Edo, NMA in war of words over efforts to check COVID-19

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Edo State Government yesterday continued to trade words with the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), which alleged ineptitude on the part of government to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the state.

In a letter addressed to the Edo branch chairman of NMA, Valentine Omoifo, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Osarodion Ogie, said the COVID-19 response committee had recorded appreciable success in its preparations against the pandemic and was fully ready to take on its assignment.

Ogie, who noted that NMA neglected its role in the face of the pandemic, said the it was being uncharitable in its assessment of the state government’s response to the pandemic.

But explaining the rationale behind the state government heeding the doctors’ advice for a total lockdown, Omoifo said the doctors were ready to continue to collaborate with the state government to ensure that the pandemic was contained as soon as possible.

Omoifo advocated a clear-cut management and follow-up protocol for patients on self-isolation at any location in the state and raised concerns on the need for the immediate closure of the state’s borders to curb the spread of the dreaded COVID-19.

The NMA Public Relations Officer (PRO), Dr. Eustace Oseghale, stated in Benin City yesterday that the association had been in the forefront of efforts against the scourge, against the state government’s claims that it had not made any contribution like other associations since the COVID-19 outbreak in the state.

“In our bid to enlighten Edo people, we appear on several electronic media (radio and television) regularly. We have erected billboards across the state, with jingles and physical sensitisation in markets and hospitals across the state.

“The NMA also made phone lines available to the public for enquires and free consultations.

“Early in the epidemic, we had written to heads of hospitals in the state advising on measures we believed they needed to employ to help keep our members, other health workers and the general public safe,” Oseghale said.

The NMA regretted that Edo government, rather than heed its advice to lock down, accused the doctors of peddling falsehood, among several uncharitable comments about the NMA and its leadership.

Meanwhile, the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) has discharged the first COVID-19 patient from its Isolation centre.

Head, Rapid Response Team, COVID-19 in UBTH, Dr. Benson Okwara, disclosed this in a statement made available to newsmen at the weekend.

“The patient’s first negative test, following resolution of symptoms, was on April 10, while a follow-up test on April 14 also returned a negative result, thus qualifying him for discharge,” he said.


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