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Doctors, pharmacists disagree over easing COVID-19 lockdown

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NMA president, Dr. Francis Adedayo Faduyile


• PDP Reps caucus urges Buhari to reverse decision

Doctors and pharmacists are divided over the implications of easing the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)-induced lockdown from today nationwide. While the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has warned that the relaxation could prompt 100 per cent increase in casualties, the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has stated that it is the best decision at the moment.

NMA president, Dr. Francis Adedayo Faduyile, told The Guardian: “I have heard people talk about the economic implications of continuing the lockdown. Well, I am not an economist but a medical doctor. My advice and position are based on evidence. If the lockdown is eased, we may experience a 100 per cent spike in the number of cases as seen with our neighbours (in) Ghana. Ghana recorded over a 100 per cent increase in number of cases just about seven to ten days after easing a national lockdown.”

He went on: “The easing of the lockdown even in phases is very premature. Instead, the association believes that agencies of state should intensify efforts through mass enlightenment campaigns beyond current attempts to explain the dangers inherent in easing the lockdown prematurely in the face of rising infection rates, and also for the palliatives to reach the needy. We appreciate the efforts of state and non-state operators on their efforts so far, but urge them to do more.”

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In his remarks, PSN president, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, in an interview said: “It is a delicate situation. I am a nation builder. I am a mature person that understands how the economy runs. We are caught between the rock and the hard place. If we continue with the lockdown, people are already complaining and threatening to cause havoc. The government does not have the capacity to continue providing palliatives and security under such situation.”

Meanwhile, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has distanced itself from an advertorial from Pax Herbal Clinic and Research Laboratories titled, “an official statement by Paxherbals on the treatment of COVID-19.”

The promo claimed that the firm had developed a new drug called PAX CVD PLUS for the treatment of the novel coronavirus, and was working with NAFDAC to speed up approval for certain drugs.

The same promo claimed that the Director-General of NAFDAC had allegedly appointed experts to work with Pax Herbal on what is described as “a special project.”

But the DG, Mojisola Deyeye, in a statement, yesterday, explained: “The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control wish to inform the public that PAX CVD PLUS has not been registered nor listed for the treatment of COVD-19, neither have we registered nor listed any other remedy for COVID-19.

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“To set the records straight, at no time did the Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Christianah Adeyeye, or anyone in the agency appoint any expert or member of staff to work with Pax Herbals on any project.”

However, disturbed by the impact of the novel coronavirus on the food system and existing strategies to address the high burden of malnutrition in the most populous back nation, the Nutrition Society of Nigeria (NSN) has called for synergising of efforts by stakeholders to effectively manage the pandemic, promote adequate nutrition during the period and reduce the post-infestation burden it.

Its president, Dr. Bartholomew I. C. Brai, in a statement, restated that the society remained committed to “promoting the health and well-being of all Nigerians through adequate nutrition across the lifecycle despite the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.”

Also yesterday, a faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus in the House of Representatives faulted President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to relax the lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja.

In a statement by its leader, Kingsley Chinda, the group claimed that the authorities had not done enough to ensure the ‘wellbeing ‘of Nigerians before the relaxation.

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