The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has described as premature, the easing of the lockdown, even in phases, by the Federal Government, and urged Nigeria to learn from Ghana, where the same action produced a 100 per cent increase in infection rate in just a week.
Briefing journalists yesterday in Abuja, President of the Association, Dr Francis Faduyile, said as the incidence of COVID-19 cases hits the 2000th mark this weekend, just seven days after hitting the 1000th mark, it figuratively tilts the epidemiological curve towards an upward spike. He noted that the revelation by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) that the nation lacks bed spaces in Lagos worsens this frightening scenario.
Faduyile, who observed that the confusing situation in Kano had neither been unravelled nor resolved, said some states continue to live in the delusion of zero COVID-19 incidences. He urged states to intensify efforts through mass enlightenment campaigns beyond current attempts to explain the dangers inherent in easing the lockdown prematurely in the face of rising infection rates while calling for palliatives to reach the needy.
The NMA President, who bemoaned the rather meddlesome pronouncements by some state actors on the management protocols for COVID-19 in the country said: “In particular, we view Bauchi State Governor’s directive on the use of a specific drug in the treatment of positive cases as improper and unethical. Medical doctors have the prerogative to use whatever treatment regimen they consider best, based on evidence and presentation of the patients.
“We, therefore, implore our leaders to desist from distracting our time tested doctors and health workers. Instead, they should encourage them through the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), incentives and communication tools to interact with peers within the country and overseas, as it is customary in the world of medical science, to arrive at the best possible interventions for patients.
Faduyile said with 113 Healthcare Workers (HCWs) in Nigeria reportedly infected with COVID-19 in the course of discharging their duties, health workers should not let down their guard in adhering strictly to Infection Prevention and Control protocols.
“The Association reemphasise that HCWs should wear the proper PPE before attending to any patient, as every patient is a potential COVID-19 patient. Furthermore, the Association notes with dismay the delay in distributing available PPE to all public and private hospitals to prevent, detect and treat more patients as it ought to, and pray that the burgeoning bureaucracy is not a clog in the wheel of progress in this regard.
“We wish that the “Panel of Experts” recently inaugurated by the Federal Ministry of Health is empowered to immediately commence its work of thinking, analyzing, synthesizing, collating and disseminating the most relevant medical information that informs the best management of COVID-19 patients.