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COVID-19: It is Premature to Ease Lockdown, NMA Warns FG

by John Asama
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Worried by the rise in confirmed cases of COVID 19 in the country, the Nigerian Medical Association has warned against easing the lockdown by President Muhammadu Buhari tomorrow, saying “it is premature in the face of rising infection.”

In an Advisory against the spike trend in the curve issued weekend and jointly signed by the President of the NMA, Dr. Francis Faduyile and the Secretary, Dr. Olumuyiwa Odusote, they urged the country to learn from their neighbour Ghana where the same action produced a 100 percent increase in infection rate in a week.

According to them, the agencies of State should 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;   and also for the palliatives to reach the needy.

“We appreciate State and non-State operators on their efforts so far, but urge them to do more.”

The Association further bemoaned what they described as the  “meddlesome pronouncements” by some state actors on the management protocols for COVID-19  in the country.

“In particular, we view the directive by the  Bauchi  State   Governor for 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 their patients.”

Noting that with 113 Healthcare Workers   (HCWs)   in   Nigeria were reportedly infected with COVID-19, the NMA urged all doctors and other health workers not to let down their guards in adhering strictly to Infection Prevention and Control protocols.

They further re-emphasized that all HCWs should wear the proper PPE before attending to any patient as every patient is a potential COVID-19 patient.

NMA also expressed dismay the delay in distributing the available PPE to all public and private hospitals to prevent, detect and treat more patients as it ought to, adding that, the burgeoning bureaucracy will not be a clog in the wheels of progress.

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“We wish that the “Panel of Experts” recently inaugurated by the Federal  Ministry of Health is empowered to immediately commence their work of thinking, analyzing, synthesizing, collating, and disseminating the most relevant medical information that informs the best management of our COVID-19 patients.   Science and knowledge must inform policies and politics.

“We appreciate the FMOH for finally listening to the plea we made several weeks ago. We wish the nation and our people the safety and protection from COVID-19 while praying the authorities to continue to carry out all necessary and more invigorated knowledge-based interventions towards a zero COVID-19 Nigeria, the NMA added.

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