The Medical Women Association of Nigeria (MWAN), Cross River branch, has called on the state government to shelve its planned trial resumption of three public schools in the state on Tuesday.
The association made the call in a statement jointly signed by its State President, Dr Bassey Nakanda and the Secretary, Dr Angella Imoke, on Monday in Calabar
It described as “untimely,” the decision of the state government to reopen schools on Tuesday, in the face of the ongoing community transmission of the COVID-19 pandemic across the country.
“This concern is borne out of the desire to ensure the safety of the lives of our children, with the lack of evidence to support the actual disease burden in the state due to low testing rates.
“We have noticed also the increase in the number of patients presenting flu-like symptoms and loss of smell/taste in various hospitals in the state.
“This may indicate a possibility of community transmission of the disease and we call for caution in order to forestall disease outbreak in the state.
“MWAN in Cross River has observed that with the zero COVID-19 status of the state, adherence to preventive/protective measures has been relaxed by most residents.
“It is exposing us to the risk of recording cases in the state, as there has been ongoing subtle inter-state movement,” the association said.
It noted that the COVCID-19 infection curve was still on the rise and had yet to peak, saying the possibility of transmission was still very high.
MWAN stated that the possibility of testing the students in the selected schools in the event of the occurrence of symptoms was not feasible, due to the absence of a testing laboratory in the state.
“We deeply appreciate all efforts of the state government in the fight against the disease but advocate for up-scaling of the testing and reinforcement of the preventive strategies.
“We suggest the option of daily educational programmes on radio and television for the pupils and students across the state until the country is able to contend the pandemic.
“As mothers and caregivers, we are concerned about the educational pursuits of our wards but are even more concerned about their health and wellbeing.
“We, therefore, appeal to the state government to review her decision on reopening of public schools in the state at this critical period, for the interest of our children who are the future leaders of Cross River and the nation at large,” it said.