A coalition of healthcare professional bodies in Akwa Ibom State has criticised the state government for not putting adequate measures in place to contain the Coronavirus pandemic in the state.
The healthcare professional bodies comprise the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) and the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN).
At a meeting yesterday in Uyo, the state capital, the coalition after considering the preventive measures taken to contain the coronavirus pandemic, scored the government very low.
The health groups had in a communique noted with great disenchantment that the government had not deemed it necessary to involve them in the fight against COVID-19.
The communique, which was jointly signed by the state Chairman of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Nsikak Nyoyoko; the state Chairman, National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Comrade Patrick Odu; the state Chairman of Pharmacy Society of Nigeria (PSN), Dr. Akwaowoh Akpabio and the state Chairman of the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN), Emilia Eliezer, however, decried the apparent lack of communication between the group and government.
According to the statement, the lack of communication had gone a long way in contributing to spread rumour, half-truth and non-truth, a development that is inimical to the prevention and containment of COVID-19 outbreak in the state.
The communique reads in part: “The leadership observed with satisfaction that the state Ministry of Health has embarked on public health enlightenment campaign with radio jingles in English and vernacular. The leadership of healthcare professionals in Akwa Ibom State also received reports on COVID-19 preparedness activities by the state Ministry of Health.
“Some of these include preparation of the Isolation Centre in Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH) at Ikot Ekpene; distribution of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE); COVID-19 screening centre at the Victor Attah International Airport, among others. This is commendable.
“The meeting also received reports that majority of the healthcare professionals have received no formal training on COVID-19 outbreak response or the management of a clinical case. The meeting also noted with satisfaction the setting up of a Hospital-Based Task-Force on COVID-19 by the management of the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital.
“The leadership noted with shock that while passengers travelling through the Victor Attah International Airport are being subjected to screening, no screening of any kind is being conducted at land and sea borders with Cross River State, Rivers State, Abia State, Cameroun and Equatorial Guinea, where majority of travelers enter into the state.
“The meeting also frowned at complaints received by members that healthcare professionals were being blackmailed to work without personal protective equipment including basic devices like face-masks, gloves, hand sanitizers and hygiene facilities such as running water. In the face of the current outbreak scoping water from a drum will not suffice.
“The leadership noted it was ironical that healthcare workers, who are being paid a miserly hazard allowance, have continued to always patriotically put their lives on the line in defense of society. Examples include the health workers responses during Ebola, Lassa Fever and now COVID-19 outbreaks.”