CRS NMA Withdraws Medical Services, Questions NCDC Daily Update_Ada Nkong

Following the insistence of the Cross River state government that the state is covid-19 free and the absence of the state from the daily update of the NCDC, medical doctors under the aegis of the Nigerian Medical Association in the state have given notice of withdrawal of their services.

While appreciating the Federal ministry of health for the accreditation of test centers in the state, the association questioned the absence of the five cases from the state confirmed at the Alex Ekwueme University teaching hospital form NCDC’s daily update.

The Doctors also passed a vote of no confidence on Dr Betta Edu the state commissioner for health, while referring her to the NMA disciplinary committee for failing to handle the issues of testing and contact tracing properly, thereby putting the lives of Cross Riverians at risk.

The state NMA therefore said its is withdrawing its services until all the issues raised are given urgent attention.

See full text of statement.

5th July, 2020

NMA CRS/SG/2020/07/254

Honorable Minister of Health
Federal Republic of Nigeria
FCT, Abuja

Dear Sir,

The Nigerian Medical Association Cross River State branch held an Emergency General Meeting on Sunday, July 5, 2020 to deliberate on the current issues of COVID-19 testing, surveillance, contact tracing, isolation, treatment and care in the State.

The following observations and resolutions were made:

1) The Association deeply appreciates the efforts of the Federal Ministry of Health through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) in declaring University of Calabar Teaching Hospital an Independent Test Centre and the eventual activation of University of Calabar Teaching Hospital Molecular Laboratory and Dr. Lawrence Henshaw Memorial Hospital Calabar for COVID-19 PCR Testing. We sincerely thank them for this.

2) The Association demands explanation from NCDC, why, the five (5) COVID-19 confirmed cases from UCTH carried out at the NCDC accredited Molecular Laboratory at Alex Ekwueme University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State have not reflected in the daily situation report of NCDC long after results had been transmitted to UCTH since July 1, 2020. Congress demands update of the NCDC situation report as a matter of urgent public health interest.

3) Congress demands explanations from NCDC, why, epidemiology code numbers have to be generated by Cross River State Ministry of Health before results of samples sent by UCTH to an NCDC approved Molecular Laboratory can be published by NCDC, despite having approved UCTH as an independent Test Centre.

4) The NCDC is put on notice that the Cross River State Government have abdicated her responsibility of contact tracing, treatment and care for the five (5) confirmed cases which may not be unconnected with the delay in publication of the results by NCDC. Congress demands the immediate activation of Adiabo Isolation Centre and commencement of surveillance and contact tracing in the State.

5) The members of the Association and residents of Cross River State have been put in a precarious public health and safety situation due to the confusion and uncertainty created by the delayed updating of the results by NCDC.

6) Congress demands explanation from NCDC, why, despite several complaints of compromised testing in the State, investigations have not commenced on the unethical activities carried out by Cross River State COVID-19 Task Force.

7) The Association passed a VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE on the Honorable Commissioner for Health – Dr. Betta Edu, and further referred her to the NMA National Disciplinary Committee and Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) for the unethical handling of COVID-19 testing in the State, thus putting lives at risk and bringing the Association to disrepute.

8) Arising from the meeting, all members of Nigerian Medical Association Cross River State branch in public and private hospitals have embarked on a total and indefinite withdrawal of medical services until NCDC and the State Ministry of Health give urgent and prompt attention to the issues raised.

9) We trust that the relevant authorities will act decisively, within the shortest possible time to bring to a timely end our total and indefinite withdrawal of medical services.

Dr. Agam E. Ayuk
State Chairman

Dr. Ezoke Epoke
State Secretary

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