March 5, 2021

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COVID-19: C’River Govt, NMA Reconcile

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Chiemeka ADINDU, Calabar

 

After months of muscle flexing and disagreements, health professionals in the state have come to a common ground with the Cross River state Ministry of health.

 

This was revealed to TNN by the Chairman, Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, Cross River Branch, Dr. Agam Ayuk and the state commissioner for health, Dr. Betta Edu in separate telephone interviews.

According to the NMA chairman, the reconciliation was possible following the efforts of the state government in meeting most of the demands that caused disagreements in the past.

He said “we are seeing some improvements. We now have two test centres in the state. One is at the teaching hospital while the other is at the Lawrence Henshaw Memorial hospital.

“And the government has committed to improve their response to COVID-19 and carry out contact tracing. So we hope they remain committed to that”. He also noted that the NMA is willing to offer her services in the state as far as a conducive working condition is provided.

On her part, the Cross River state commissioner for health, Dr. Betta Edu was of the opinion that the state government was never in crisis with the NMA. She explained that what happened was a misconception the medical body had about the state government.

“There was no crisis. I think that it was just an issue of misunderstanding. And most of that have been attended to, they are not issues to be handled by the state, it is the federal. So most of the issues the Nigerian Medical Association raised have been handled by the appropriate authority.

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On the state of the laboratories, she said the 17- man team sent to the state by the Presidential taskforce on COVID-19 was satisfied with what the state was doing, which led to the certification of the equipment.

She called on residents of the state to keep maintaining the guidelines on COVID-19 especially since the embargo on interstate lockdown had been lifted. She also encouraged them to walk into any of the test centres in the state for testing, disclosing that the test is free of charge.

The Federal Government had on July 6, sent a 17-member delegation from the Presidential Task Force, PTF, and the Federal Ministry of Health, FMoH, to Cross River. The team was led by the Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of National Primary Healthcare, Dr Faisal Shuaibu, to set up a COVID-19 response strategy in the state that will align with the national response.

Recall that the NMA had earlier embarked on strike on July 5 on the failure of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, to reflect the five COVID-19 cases sent for laboratory test by the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, UCTH, which returned positive, and for irregularities in the state response to the Coronavirus. They also passed a vote of no confidence on the state commissioner for health, recommending her to the federal ministry of health for sanction.

 

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