NMA Alarmed By CRSG Decision To Re-open Schools

Arising from the Ordinary General Meeting of the Nigerian Medical Association Cross River State held on June 10, 2020, the Cross River State chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, says it is alarmed by the decision of the Cross River State Government, CRSG, to re-open, on a trial basis, three public schools in each of the three senatorial districts in the state because of the “… lack of evidence to ascertain the actual COVID-19 status and disease burden in the State due to the unacceptably low number of tests carried out. The quick resumption of schools, despite genuine reasons, has the potential of significant disease outbreak among students.”

NMA in a press release, NMACRS/SG/2020/06/245, dated June 13, 2020, signed by Agam E. Ayuk, Ezoke Epoke, State Chairman Chairman and Secretary respectively, specifically states that, “the gross under-testing for COVID-19 in Cross River State is a significant public health concern. The COVID-19 tests breakdown by States as at June 10, 2020, released by NCDC revealed Cross River State has carried out only nine (9) tests using the NCDC Molecular Laboratory”, a situation that is responsible for the Association’s continuous advocacy for upscaling of COVID-19 testing in the State.

The association also warned that, “the increasing report of flu-like symptoms, respiratory symptoms and loss of smell/taste in various hospitals and the State metropolis is an indication of potential community transmission of an undetected disease fitting the epidemiologic pattern of COVID-19.”

Government was however commended for the production of Personal Protective Equipment (mask, face shield and gowns) by the garment factory while both the state and federal governments were urged to “expedite plans for accreditation of Dr. Lawrence Henshaw Memorial Hospital, Calabar, a Bio-Safety Level Three (BSL-3) laboratory and University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar as testing centres for COVID-19.

State Health Commissioner, Betta Edu, did not respond to messages sent to seek her reaction to NMA’s position at press time.

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