COVID-19: Health professionals call for review of C/River testing claims

The Committee of Health Professionals in Cross River has called on the Presidentianl Task Force (PTF) through and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to review the Covid-19 testing claims and results tendered so far from the state.

The Committee made the call on Saturday in a release jointly signed by its Chairman, Dr Agam Ayuk and the Secretary, Mr Dennis Ekpo after an emergency meeting of the committee in Calabar.

Membership of the Committee include Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN), National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) and Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN).

“We demand explanations on why of the well over 25 samples collected; the NCDC records only show eight samples underwent the Polymerase Chain Reaction tests. This unethical practice has endangered the lives of health workers and more importantly, that of the populace.

“The PCR confirmation of five cases of SARS-CoV-2 from the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) has justified the continuous alarm raised by health professional associations in the state of possible hospital and community transmission of COVID-19 in Cross River.

“For the avoidance of doubt and to dispel misinformation of the unsuspecting public, the five samples that were sent to NCDC accredited molecular laboratory at Alex Ekwueme University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki were delivered on Monday, June 29, 2020, following receipt of specimen collection kits from NCDC by UCTH on Sunday, June 28, 2020.

“The samples included two patients who were already on admission at the UCTH Isolation Centre, one patient who was billed for surgery and two Medical Doctors who had respiratory symptoms, both staff of UCTH,” the released stated.

The Committee appreciated and commended NCDC for the approval granted to UCTH as an Independent Test Centre.

The release said that the approval and the subsequent activation of a Test Centre would add trust to the ease of access and authentication of test results and also up-scale COVID-19 testing in the state.

“The Committee calls on the NCDC to provide technical support to the state COVID-19 Task Force for efficient and effective surveillance and contact tracing, while calling on the state to commence contact tracing for the families and known contacts of confirmed cases.

“Given the teeming populace presenting at the various hospitals for suspected COVID-19 needing either isolation and or treatment, the Committee urgently calls for the activation of the Adiabo Isolation Centre to attend to patients in urgent need of care.

“We also urge the state government to scale-up the provision of personal protective equipment to healthcare workers in all health facilities in the state.

“The general public is hereby informed that COVID-19 is real and present in Cross River.

“The Committee advises the public to neither panic nor stigmatize COVID-19 patients but rather take responsibility and steps to protect the vulnerable and adhere to the NCDC protocols/guidelines of regular hand washing, social/physical distancing and use of facemasks to protect themselves,” the release said.

The Committee encouraged all residents in the state who have symptoms to present themselves for testing.

“The Committee of health professionals remain committed to working with the Federal and state Governments to fight the COVID-19 pandemic,” the released stated. (NAN)