COVID-19: NMA Cross River State Embarks on Indefinite Withdrawal of Medical Services

Passes ‘Vote of No Confidence’ on Health Commissioner

Arising from an Emergency General Meeting on Sunday, July 5, 2020, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) Cross River State has disclosed that all members in public and private hospitals have embarked on a total and indefinite withdrawal of medical services until the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the State Ministry of Health give urgent and prompt attention to several issues they have raised.

This is also, as 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.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by the State Chairman Dr. Agam E. Ayuk and State Secretary, Dr. Ezoke Epoke, after the emergency meeting which was held to deliberate on the current issues of COVID-19 testing, surveillance, contact tracing, isolation, treatment and care in the State.

The Association also demanded 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.

The Congress demanded an update of the NCDC situation report as a matter of urgent public health interest, adding that 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.

They said,  “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.

“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.

“The NCDC is put on notice that the Cross River State Government has 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.

“Congress demands an 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.

“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”, they ended.

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