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Cross River doctors declare indefinite strike over COVID-19

The Cross River State chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) said on Sunday its members across the state would embark on an indefinite strike over COVID-19 concerns.

In a letter addressed to Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, and signed by its chairman in the state, Dr. Agam Ayuk, the association wondered why the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) had not included Cross River in its daily update on COVID-19.

NMA said the lives of the doctors and other health workers were at risk over the COVID-19 situation in the state.

Cross River is the only state in Nigeria where no single case of COVID-19 has been officially confirmed by NCDC.

The association insisted that five cases recorded in the state had their tests conducted at NCDC approved laboratory but their results have not been published in the agency’s situation report.

The University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) had last Friday confirmed five COVID-19 cases in the hospital.

The Chief Medical Director of UCTH, Prof. Ikpeme Ikpeme, who disclosed the development in an internal memo, said two of the hospital staff contracted the virus.

The NMA statement read: “The association demands explanation from NCDC, why the five 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.

READ ALSO: Cross River records first set of COVID-19 cases as UCTH confirms five infections

“Congress demands update of the NCDC situation report as a matter of urgent public health interest.

“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 confirmed cases which may not be unconnected with the delay in publication of the results by NCDC.

“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.

“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.”

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