By Chimezie Godfrey
In a statement made available to Newsdiaryonline, the President, CNP, Philip Olatunji, who commended the efforts of government in tackling the scourge, stressed the need for government to support and motivate health workers at the frontline of the fight against the pandemic.
”The CNP wishes to remind all governments that those in the frontline must be fully supported and motivated through the provision of all necessary working materials and appropriate incentives.
“This is particularly important because, while educational institutions, markets, recreation areas, beaches, and religious places can close and communities can be locked down, hospitals must remain open and health care personnel must remain at work,” he said.
Olatunji noted that the CNP is concerned about the inadequacy of testing centres across the country and urged governments to substantially decentralize the testing centres as a strategy to accelerate the control of the outbreak.
“We do not see any reason why our tertiary health care centres where competent pathologists and medical laboratory scientists are situated, cannot carry out COVID-19 tests.
“We urge the Federal and State governments to deploy a portion of the COVID-19 budget to bridge whatever deficiencies exist in our tertiary diagnostic laboratories.
“We are aware of the advertisement of a few rapid serological test kits being touted for the diagnosis of COVID-19, and some are already showing interest,” he stated.
The CNP President disclosed that many of these kits are antibody-based and may not be appropriate for accurate diagnosis.
He also pointed out that they are not validated, hence their sensitivity and specificity are unknown.
“We are of the view that anything that can positively contribute to the control of the pandemic should be embraced.
“While we recommend that at these critical moment, diagnostic utility should employ the NCDC recommended Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR), we call for a more innovative and quicker diagnostic approach,” he said.
Olatunji raised concerned about a possible abuse of Chloroquine arising from its purported usefulness in treating COVID-19 infection.
He said,”Although some evidence is emerging about its efficacy, we caution against inappropriate use of Chloroquine due to its damaging effect to the eye and interference with the functioning of the heart.
“Chloroquine should therefore only be used under the guidance of certified medical personnel in the care of people with COVID-19 infection.
“We condemn the hiking of the cost of Chloroquine, face masks, hand gloves, and sanitizer, which are essential for protection and prevention of the population, by unpatriotic vendors and dealers.
“We also caution against the spread of fake and unverified news. Members of the public should consult WHO, CDC, NCDC and other authoritative websites and sources for reliable information. Share only information you have personally verified; if you are in doubt do not share.
“It is gladdening to note that more than 95% of infected persons are stable; there is therefore no need to panic or get confused or over-react.
“Keep to all preventive and protective instructions, wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available; do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands; avoid close contact with people who are sick, sneezing or coughing, and stay at home when you feel sick.
“Coughing or sneezing should be done into a tissue or flexed elbow, and tissue should be properly disposed into trash or waste bins. Surfaces and objects people frequently touch should be cleaned and disinfected.
“Wear face mask if you have respiratory symptoms or are caring for someone with respiratory symptoms. Maintain social distance of six feet (2 metres) and please notify the NCDC (080097000010) ifyou have travelled within the last 14 days to a country with community transmission of COVID-19.
“Avoid self-medication and notify appropriate health facilities if you observe any symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, dry cough, tiredness, sore throat and difficulty in breathing).”