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Experts urge PTF, NCDC to probe COVID-19 claims in Cross River


Chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa (left); Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Amb. Zubairu Dada; and representative of the Chairman of Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Olusegun Adekunle, during the official presentation of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) worth N48 million to the PTF in Abuja…at the weekend. PHOTO: NAN

Health professionals in Cross River State have called on the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to investigate coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test results in the state.

For quite sometime, there have been claims and counter-claims of COVID-19 cases in the state among the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH), medical professionals and the state government.

Rising from its emergency meeting on July 3, 2020, the committee of health professionals comprising chairmen and secretaries of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN), National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) and Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) in the state reviewed the issues bordering on COVID-19 response in the state.

According to the experts, there have been compromise and unethical practices. A resolution signed by the chairman of the group, Dr. Agam Ayuk, and secretary, Dennis Ekpo, said, “The Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) confirmation of five cases of SARS-CoV-2 from the UCTH has justified the continuous alarm raised by health professional associations in the state of possible hospital and community transmission of COVID-19 in Cross River.”

The committee called on the PTF through the Federal Ministry of Health and the NCDC to investigate COVID-19 results tendered so far in the state and hold to account all those responsible for compromising tests in the state.

“We demand explanations on why of the over 25 samples collected the NCDC records only eight samples underwent PCR tests. This unethical practice has endangered the lives of health workers and, more importantly, that of the populace,” it stated.

However, the Commissioner for Health and Chairman of COVID-19 Response Task Force, Dr Betta Edu, maintained that the state was COVID-19 free as 35 tests had been carried out.

She announced that the state had got its own COVID-19 test centre with a capacity of running 500 tests per day, whereas before now the state used to take test samples to Irrua in Edo State and Abakiliki in Ebonyi State.

Dr. Edu, who announced this at weekend during the inspection of the Testing and Sample Centre at Lawrence Henshaw Memorial Hospital, said that testing of already collected samples had started.


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