By Archibong Jeremiah
The Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, Cross River State chapter has written to the Minister of Health as well as urge the Cross River Government to open own 100-bed capacity isolation centre at Adiabo for confirmed COVID-19 patients
The letter with reference number NMACRS/SG/2020/07/273 was signed jointly by the State Chairman and Secretary, Dr. Agam E. Ayuk and Dr. Ezoke Epoke respectively.
The letter titled “situation report of resolutions of meeting held between the PTF/FMOH COVID-19 delegation, Nigeria Medical Association Cross River State branch and the Cross River State Ministry of Health” reads below.
The State Officers’ Committee of Nigerian Medical Association Cross River State branch reviewed the resolutions of meeting held between the PTF/FMOH COVID-19 Delegation, Nigerian Medical Association Cross River State branch and the Cross River State Ministry of Health on July 7, 2020.
The Association sincerely appreciates the timely deployment of the NCDC National Rapid Response Team led by Dr. Nwachukwu William to Cross River State.
Following critical appraisal of the terms of agreement, we bring to your notice the situation report as at July 22, 2020 with recommendations for your kind consideration.
1) RESOLUTION ONE (1): Improve the COVID-19 outbreak response in Cross River State .
There has been no significant progress in the overall outbreak response in view of the NCDC strategic COVID-19 response pillars.
Cross River State Government should be encouraged to give the National Rapid Response Team the needed support to carry out their terms of reference in supporting the State’s response activities and ensure containment of the outbreak.
2) RESOLUTION TWO (2): Upscale COVID-19 testing in the State.
The presence of two Testing Centres in the State was expected to lead to an upscale in testing. However, that is not the case especially in the State owned Lawrence Henshaw Memorial Hospital Testing Laboratory. It has been brought to our knowledge that the facility has carried out more than fifty (50) tests for COVID-19 yielding many confirmed positive tests for COVID-19. To our greatest dismay, most of these positive results have not been transmitted to the NCDC situation report room. This lack of transparency and refusal to transmit confirmed result is a major cause for concern.
We strongly appeal that the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) Molecular Laboratory which has reported about 75% of the results captured in the NCDC situation report for Cross River State as at July 22, 2020 be upgraded for large scale testing with provision of needed equipment and facilities.
3) RESOLUTION THREE (3): Contact tracing, case identification and surveillance activities.
There has been minimal progress on this critical aspect of the response with no evidence of contact tracing for most of the confirmed cases.
The Cross River State Government should be encouraged to deploy resources into this critical aspect of the response without political interference.
4) RESOLUTION FOUR (4): Activation of the designated Isolation Centre in accordance with the national protocol for immediate use.
It is very disturbing to report that the Cross River State Government have refused to activate the State owned 100-bed capacity Isolation Centre at Adiabo for immediate use despite urgent need for the facility. The UCTH 5-bed capacity Isolation Centre is the only functional Isolation Centre in the State. This Isolation Centre is easily filled to capacity leaving many confirmed cases stranded and referred back home.
We strongly appeal to the Federal Government to impress on the State Government on the need to immediately activate the State Isolation Centre for immediate use. We also appeal for upgrading of UCTH Isolation Centre to at least a 25-bed Isolation Centre to accommodate the increasing daily pressure for space.
5) RESOLUTION FIVE (5): Providing free treatment and care of confirmed cases in Government Isolation Centres.
The burden of care for admitted patients are majorly carried by the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital Calabar with occasional support with drugs from the State. Patients have to feed themselves and bear responsibility for their general care. This is against the Federal Government policy of free care to COVID-19 patients.
The Cross River State Government and the Federal Government are encouraged to keep to the policy of free treatment and care for COVID-19 patients as is practiced in other States of the Federation.
6) RESOLUTION SIX (6): Establish a coordinated Incident Management Centre with the engagement of all relevant stakeholders.
There is no recognized efficient Incident Management Centre in the State. The State is yet to provide a single State situation report for COVID-19 response, thus restricting real time information to citizens.
The State should be supported to activate the State Emergency Operation Centre (EOC).
In the interest of public health and safety, the Nigerian Medical Association Cross River State branch will be reviewing progress on implementation of the resolutions agreed upon by the Cross River State Government at our Annual General Meeting slated for 6th August, 2020.
The Association appreciates the efforts so far made in the fight against COVID-19 by the PTF, FMOH and the NCDC and continue to appeal for support and intervention in Cross River State.
Kindly accept assurances of our esteemed regards.
Dr. Agam E. Ayuk
Dr. Ezoke Epoke
1)The Director General
Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)
2)The National Coordinator
Presidential Task Force on COVID-19
Nigerian Medical Association
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