The Cross River State Chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association questioned the preparedness and honesty of the Cross River State Government toward the fight against COVID-19.
The association revealed that contrary to what has been going around, the state has no equipped isolation center for COVID-19 and that the state has only 33 medical doctors under its employment.
Addressing newsmen in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, Dr. Agam Ayuk, the state chairman of the association maintained that the 4-bed capacity isolation unit at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital belong to the disease ward of the Department of Microbiology at the hospital and that the state commissioner was not telling the truth when on April 14, 2020, she declared that the state Government has 105 Doctors.
He insisted that the said isolation centers remain inadequate and that the Central Working Committee of Health Professionals in the State has submitted a reported to Dr. Betta Edu, the state commissioner of Health conveying the fact that the center lack NCDC recommended amenities for an isolation center.
While he praised the government for insisting that people wear face mask, Agam said “However, while the use of facemask is helpful, it does not confer full protection against COVID-19 and citizens of the state should not be lured into a false sense of security by the mere use of face mask.
“According to the World Health Organization Interim Guidance of April 6, 2020, the use of face masks (medical or non-medical) whether for source control (used by infected persons) or prevention of COVID-19 (used by healthy persons) alone is insufficient to provide an adequate level of protection; we advises other measures to be adopted.
“Therefore, the facemask is complementary to social/physical distancing of at least 1 meter, avoiding mass gatherings, effective hand and respiratory hygiene and cleaning of all contact surfaces among other measures as recommended by the NCDC and World Health Organization”, he said.
On the numbers of doctors under the state employment, Agam said, “”The number of doctors in the State Civil Service is the least in the country. A Doctor in Cross River Civil Service earns 46-54 percent of what his/her colleague earns across the country.
“Doctors in Cross River are the least paid by any state government in the country. It is therefore difficult to engage or retain this critical workforce.
“We, therefore, call on the state government to use this period of COVID-19 pandemic to address the human resource capacity and other deficits in the health sector”, he said.