NMA raises the alarm over Cross Rivers’ Covid-19 status



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NMA raises the alarm over Cross Rivers’ Covid-19 status

Our Reporter



The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in Cross River State rose vehemently yesterday against plan by the state government to commence a trial resumption of schools.

It branded the plan as alarming in view of the “gross under-testing for COVID-19” in the state.



The government intends to open three public schools in each of the three Senatorial Districts across the state on Tuesday, June 16.

But the association in a statement in Calabar by its Chairman Dr. Agam Ayuk and the Secretary Dr Ezoke Epoke yesterday said the medical community saw no evidence to ascertain the actual COVID-19 status and disease burden in the state due to the unacceptable low level of tests.

The NMA maintained that the quick resumption of schools, in spite of genuine reasons, has the potential for significant disease outbreak among students.

It called for the adoption of educational technologies to provide remote learning opportunities and educational programmes for students in public schools in the interim.

It said: “The declaration by the Cross River Government on a trial resumption of three public schools in each of the three senatorial districts in the state to commence on June 16, 2020, is alarming.

“The gross under-testing for COVID-19 in Cross River is a significant public health concern.

“The COVID-19 tests breakdown by states as at June 10, 2020, released by NCDC revealed that Cross River has carried out only nine tests using the NCDC Molecular Laboratory. “

It advocated “up-scaling of COVID-19 testing in the state” and appealed to the federal and state governments to “expedite plans for accreditation of Dr. Lawrence Henshaw Memorial Hospital, Calabar, a Bio-Safety Level Three Laboratory and University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar, as testing centres for COVID-19.”

Accrediting the centres, according to the NMA, will not “only upscale testing in the state but also reduce the turnaround time for COVID-19 tests.”

The Association noted that the increasing report of flu-like symptoms, respiratory symptoms and loss of smell/taste in various hospitals and the state metropolis was an indication of potential community transmission of an undetected disease fitting the epidemiological pattern of COVID-19.

It added: “Recent research published in Nature Medicine in the United Kingdom revealed: “Loss of smell (anosmia) was a stronger predictor than a fever for COVID-19’ prompting recommendations on self-isolation if detected.”

It asked the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 through the Federal Ministry of Health and Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, state government and all stakeholders to critically appraise the COVID-19 status of the state, saying: “The COVID-19 infection curve is still on the rise and yet to peak in the country.

“The lack of adherence to infection prevention strategies like social distancing, use of face mask, hand and respiratory hygiene at this crucial time is worrisome.”

NMA raises the alarm over Cross Rivers’ Covid-19 status

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