COVID-19: Medical Doctors Declare Indefinite Strike in Cross River

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Members of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in Cross River State have withdrawn their services from government health facilities across the state over a lack of response to rising cases of COVID-19 in the state.

According to the state chairman of the professional association, Agam Ayuk who wrote to the Minister of Health, Osagie Enahire, the lives of doctors are at risk in the state.

Governors Ben Ayade and Yahaya Bello of Cross River and Kogi have repeatedly denied the existence of COVID-19 in their states and frustrated efforts by officials of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) from carrying out testing.

A couple of high profile casualties in Kogi State however turned the situation around while five random tests carried out in Cross River returned as positive for COVID-19.

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In the aftermath of the positive cases in Cross River, the NMA wondered why the new cases were not published in the daily report on COVID-19 carried out by the NCDC.

“The Association demands explanation from NCDC, why the five (5) COVID-19 confirmed cases from UCTH carried out at the NCDC accredited Molecular Laboratory at Alex Ekwueme University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, have not reflected in the daily situation report of NCDC long after results had been transmitted to UCTH since July 1, 2020. Congress demands update of the NCDC situation report as a matter of urgent public health interest,” the letter read.

“Congress demands explanations from NCDC, why epidemiology code numbers have to be generated by Cross River State Ministry of Health before results of samples sent by UCTH to an NCDC approved Molecular Laboratory can be published by NCDC despite having approved UCTH as an independent Test Centre.

“The NCDC is put on notice that the Cross River State Government has abdicated her responsibility of contact tracing, treatment and care for the five (5) confirmed cases which may not be unconnected with the delay in publication of the results by NCDC.

“The members of the Association and residents of Cross River State have been put in a precarious public health and safety situation due to the confusion and uncertainty created by the delayed updating of the results by NCDC.

“Congress demands explanation from NCDC why despite several complaints of compromised testing in the State, investigations have not commenced on the unethical activities carried out by Cross River State COVID-19 Task Force.”

“The members of the Association and residents of Cross River State have been put in a precarious public health and safety situation due to the confusion and uncertainty created by the delayed updating of the results by NCDC.

“Congress demands explanation from NCDC why despite several complaints of compromised testing in the State, investigations have not commenced on the unethical activities carried out by Cross River State COVID-19 Task Force.”

The medical association thereafter passed a vote of no confidence on the state commissioner for health, Betta Adu for mishandling the health crisis in the state.

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