The Nigerian Medical Association lashed out at the federal and state governments for failing to contain the spread of the disease.
The NMA, in a statement by its President, Dr Francis Faduyile, raised the alarm over the absence of respirators and other equipment at some of the designated coronavirus isolation centres across the country.
The NMA said efforts to contain COVID-19 in Nigeria would only have impact if states and the Federal Government arrived at a compromise to work in the same direction. Faduyile said that so far, both levels of government had been working at cross purposes.
It said, “(We) note that certain key strategies have been largely absent or sub-optimally implemented. The most important of this being effective coordination between the federal and state governments, as well as other stakeholders which will ensure that efforts are not wasted, knowledge and health intelligence are shared for better results.
The association lamented the absence of purpose-built isolation centres in the country. It stated, “To make matters worse, in most of our hospitals, there is severe inadequacy of critical care facilities like purpose-built intensive care units. These ICUs with ventilators/artificial respirators make the difference between life and death in complications from Covid-19. It is scary that the dearth of these facilities is the same in all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.”
The NMA stated that states and the Federal Government should be comparing notes and sharing intelligence on issues such as modalities for effective implementation of social distancing and case detection.
It called on government to ensure strict compliance with self-isolation policy for those returning to the country from countries with high prevalence of coronavirus.
The association noted that some stated had closed schools and called for compliance with lockdown orders by states.
“The NMA demands uniformity in implementing the lock-down orders on non-essential services. We, therefore, call on President Buhari to issue an Executive order to enforce compliance,” it added.
The association stated, “Given these defaults/inadequacies, NMA, therefore, calls for immediate commencement of supervised self-isolation in any manner that will protect public health. This would ensure that returnees from the countries with high prevalence would adhere to instructions and confine themselves to a location in order to protect members of the public.
“Physical visits by the designated officials to the returnees to track their locations, taking their vital signs and those of each of their contacts rather than voluntary reports of failing health and serial testing of their samples will deliver better results.”
The NMA, however, said it acknowledged efforts put in place so far by the FG and some other states, especially Lagos State, as well as the philanthropic gestures of Aliko Dangote and Mrs Folorunsho Alakija towards the fight against COVID-19 in the country. It called on its state chapters to mobilise volunteers (doctors who are active as well as those in the private sector) to assist in the area of service delivery at health facilities, contact tracing and wholesome information/public health education campaigns in collaboration with the public authorities.