The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in Cross River has decried the low number of persons tested in the state for coronavirus.
The Association stated this in a press release jointly signed by its Chairman, Dr Agam Ayuk and the Secretary, Dr Ezoke Epoke on Friday in Calabar.
The association said that the coronavirus testing breakdown by states as at May 17, revealed that Cross River had carried out only seven tests so far.
NMA said that the figure was very worrisome because it does not give a true picture of the situation on the ground.
“The unacceptable low number of persons tested in Cross River suggests a lack of diligent, expansive and coordinated surveillance response which is the hallmark for effective prevention and containment of Covid-19.
“We appeal for an expansion of the surveillance unit with the provision of more field staff, vehicles, ICT/technical support to enable it carry out the critical role of early case finding for testing and isolation of confirmed cases to limit community spread.
“NMA has received several reports of delayed response by the State Surveillance and Epidemiology unit to calls for patients review and samples collection.
“In some cases, delays have led to a post-mortem samples collection. We call for rapid response and urgent transportation of samples within 24 hours of the collection with daily situation report made available to the public to avoid fake news and allay fears and anxiety.
“The quick response time has become more imperative due to the rising number of deaths from suspected cases in the state, the most recent case being a health worker,” the release stated.
The Association also said that 7 out of the 8 samples collected so far were from the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital.
“We call on the state Covid-19 taskforce to create a transparent system for tracking of samples from the point of collection to Testing Centre to restore confidence on the eventual result reported.
“Cross River Government currently has no listed NCDC designated Molecular Laboratory Testing Centre in progress or completed on the NCDC Molecular Laboratory Network.
“We used this medium to call on NCDC to change the testing Centre of Cross River from Iruua in Edo to Abakaliki.
“We implore the state Covid-19 taskforce to expedite plans in collaboration with NCDC to fully accredit Dr Lawrence Memorial Hospital which is a Bio-Safety Level Three Laboratory and the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital for Covid-19 testing,” it stated.
The Association appreciated the state government effort for the recruitment of doctors and nurses into the state Ministry of Health.
NMA however, urged the state government to implement the 100 per cent Consolidated Medical Salary Structure in other to make the recruitment exercise a success.
“NMA commends the state government for setting up the 100-bed isolation centre in Adiabo in Calabar. The early implementation of the compulsory use of face masks by the state government continues to receive accolades across Nigeria.
“The Association calls for caution with the resumption of public worship in the state from May 24, 2020. The usual sitting capacity of most worship centres does not allow for physical distancing of at least 1 metre that reduces the risk of droplet transmission of Covid-19.
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