‘Kogi, Cross River residents in danger over refusal of COVID-19 testing’
•Experts urge FG to call states to order
Medical and Dental Consultants’ Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) has alerted the nation to what it described as grave danger to which citizens in Kogi and Cross River are exposed following alleged refusal by the state governments to allow for COVID-19 testing.
MDCAN said that reports reaching it from both states indicated that while there was evidence of increasing presentation of patients with clinical features consistent with the diagnosis of COVID-19, agencies of government in both states had continued to frustrate efforts of the medical personnel to institute testing for the disease.
At a press conference in Jos, Plateau State yesterday, the National President of the association, Prof. Ken Ozoilo said: “We demand that the Federal Government should call both state governments to order. It is irresponsible of them to allow the current situation to persist, with the lives of innocent Nigerians placed at the mercy of the whims and caprices of government officials whose core priority is clearly misplaced.
“Our members in Kogi have reported increasing number of patients with COVID-19-like illnesses, especially at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Lokoja. Similar reports are emanating from Cross River, with the latest figure including staff of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH),” he said.
According to Ozoilo, while Cross River has been very lukewarm and unserious in its approach to testing, Kogi has been openly hostile to all efforts to initiate testing.
“It is crucial to note that testing is a pivotal fulcrum upon which the entire management of the pandemic rests. Therefore, the overall control measures involved in the combat of the pandemic in these states are being sabotaged by the two state governments.
“We recall the recent incident where officials of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) were hounded and practically chased out of Kogi State when they came there to institute testing. As we speak, the FMC at Lokoja is currently non-functional as a result of the refusal of the state government to permit testing. The same scenario is playing out in Cross River with the entire members of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) in the state currently on strike over the same issue. We find it most unfortunate and unbecoming of governments tasked with the primary responsibility of protection and preservation of the welfare, especially health, of its citizens.”
MDCAN insisted that the posture of the two state governments had not only endangered the lives of the residents, but had put the lives of health workers in danger, adding that in the absence of testing and establishment of a diagnosis, other components such as contact tracing, isolation and treatment, could not proceed.
Condemning the attitude of the state governments to the pandemic, the experts called on the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) and NCDC to coordinate their response efforts directly with the authorities of Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja and the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, to the exclusion of the state governments.
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