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COVID-19: NMA asks Buhari to issue order granting NCDC free access into Kogi

 

The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to issue an order granting unfettered access and protection to Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) officials into Kogi State to do all that is necessary to contain COVID-19 which they said is gaining a serious foothold in that State.

The Association also appealed to President Buhari to call the State Governor and his officials to order immediately.

NMA said it was incredibly disturbed by the response of the Kogi State government through the State Commissioner of Information, who not only described the process of arriving at the diagnosis as fraudulent, but also went on to smear the frontline Health workers and the NCDC on live national television.

The association in an SOS message to the president signed by its president Francis Faduyile on Friday, described the attitude of the Kogi State government as both ignorantly meddlesome and irresponsible, and a demonstration of undisguised hatred against the people it swore to protect and nurture.

It condemned the State government for “hardening its heart and ensured that the Kogi people remain in the dark, untested. And as a result, it said the people are therefore undiagnosed and untreated even though COVID-19 epidemiologic pattern has 80% of cases that present with none or very mild symptoms yet shedding the virus in their airway and innocently infecting others who may become sicker and die.

It recalled that the disease was confirmed on two indigenes of Kogi State on Wednesday, May 27th 2020. One of the patients was said to be a known community, and religious leader referred from the Federal Medical Centre Lokoja, and was diagnosed with COVID-19 at the National Hospital Abuja.

“The COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the entire world has necessitated several extreme measures instituted to prevent and contain the outbreak.

The Nigerian Medical Association has repeatedly called on all Nigerians to avail the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) an agency of government established by an Act of the National Assembly unimpeded access and assistance to render its duties. The Kogi State government stoutly resisted this advisory to the dismay of our Association.

“We remind Nigerian citizens to take personal responsibility for their safety and protection from COVID-19 now than ever before.”

NMA reminded  that the identification of these cases is through testing, according to standardised protocols.

It also reminded the state that the NCDC is empowered to “prevent, detect, monitor and control” activities and programs for the national response against infectious disease epidemics and other public health emergencies; and also, to “lead, develop, coordinate” these activities in the country.

NMA said the advisory became necessary even as the nation is considering the further easing of the lockdown given the fact that Kogi State borders eleven (11) other states of the Federation and Lokoja, the State capital, a significant road transport interchange.

The Association said the order may include citing testing facilities in the Army Barracks or any secured location free from the “encumbrances posed by the State government.

It restated that no healthcare professionals at any health facility in Kogi state or elsewhere be harassed or intimidated on account of rendering avowed services as it relates to appropriate management of COVID-19 patients.

The association called on health workers to continue to perform their functions, and strongly advised them to protect themselves first before treating and saving others.

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