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NMA confirms second coronavirus wave, seeks safer vaccines for Nigerians

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The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has confirmed the second wave of the novel coronavirus, blaming the situation on flagrant disregard for non-pharmaceutical prevention protocols and waning efforts at containment of the disease.

Its President and Secretary General, NMA, Prof. Innocent Ujah, and Dr. Philp Ekpe, in a communiqué issued at the end of the association’s National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Awka, Anambra State, regretted that the quest for vaccine was not generating sufficient conversation in Nigeria.

The theme of the event was “Medical Doctors, Politics and Leadership in the Society” with its sub-theme being “Managing Mental Health in a COVID-19 Depressed Economy.”

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The doctors expressed concern that they have not been able to access the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) N100 billion intervention to cushion impact of the virus on the health sector despite fulfilling the stringent conditions attached to the facility.

The association deplored the worsening insecurity that had exposed health workers to all manner of criminals in the country, even as it bemoaned the alarming brain drain in the sector.

It stated that more deliberate and strategic efforts must be made by government to ensure the return of Nigerian doctors and other health professionals abroad to contribute their quota to improved healthcare delivery and national development

The medics advised the Federal government to procure vaccines that have been reported to be effective for further research study on Nigerians to confirm their efficacy and safety for the populace.

They insisted that before the Pfizer vaccine that recorded 94.5 per cent efficacy is used in Nigeria, it must undergo another clinical trial, considering the variation in biology, environment and genetics.

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Ujah, in a chat with reporters in Abuja yesterday, stated that it really does not matter whether the Pfizer therapy was 100 per cent efficacious in the United States and Europe, stressing that it must undergo another test “so that we can appropriately document its efficacy and safety on Nigerians.”

On the N100 billion bailout, he asserted: “As we talk, I am not aware of any doctor that has accessed the fund, even when they have met all the stringent conditions. We are appealing to government to prevail on the CBN to release the money.”

The NMA president decried the continued medical tourism by privileged citizens for sicknesses that could be treated at home. He called for conscious efforts to prioritise health, including supplementary appropriations and budgetary provisions by government at all levels as well private sector collaborations for procurement of consumables to responsively contain the ailment, especially with the upsurge in infections.

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