Thursday, 16 April 2020

Covid-19: To say there're 105 doctors in state civil service is grossly misleading, NMA tells Betta Edu


16 April 2020 

The Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, in Cross River has publicly disagreed with the State Commissioner for Health, Dr Betta Edu over data recently released by her office to the Nigerian public in respect of the fight against the ravaging pandemic, COVID-19 NEGROIDHAVEN can say authoritatively. 

In a 15th April, 2020 press release with the number NMACRS/SG/2020/04/202, and signed by the State Chairman, and State Secretary of the NMA Dr. Agam E. Ayuk and Dr. Ezoke Epoke respectively, physicians in the state of the state government disclosed that, contrary to what Commissioner Edu said on national TV that there are one hundred and five medical doctors engaged by the Cross River State Civil Service, there are thirty-three medical doctors. 

The NMA who described the position of Commissioner Edu as grossly misleading and a misrepresentation of the state of effective health care delivery in Cross River attached the spread of the medical practitioners across medical facilities managed by the state government. 

Their words, 'The press interview granted by the State Hon. Commissioner for Health on AIT International Kakaaki programme on April 14, 2020, during which she declared that the State Government has one hundred and five (105) Doctors in the State civil service is grossly misleading and a misrepresentation of a critical issue adversely affecting effective health care delivery in Cross River State. For the avoidance of doubt, we have attached the distribution of Cross River State Doctors across the various State facilities reaffirming our position of thirty three (33) doctors in the Cross River State Civil Service.'

Continuing, the NMA said, 'The number of doctors in the State Civil Service is the least in the country. A Doctor in Cross River State Civil Service earns 46-54% of what his/her colleague earns across the country. The least paid by any State Government in the country. It is therefore difficult to engage or retain this critical workforce. We therefore call on the State Government to use this period of COVID-19 pandemic to address the human resource capacity and other deficits in the Health Sector.'

There is no Covid-19 Isolation Centre in Cross River 

In the fifth item in the same press release (referred to above) by the NMA, the organisation observed that there is no Covid-19 Isolation Centre. According to them, what is available is the Infectious Disease Ward of the Department of Microbiology in the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, UCTH which is ill-equipped, lacking basic medical facilities, etc. They said the said Infectious Disease Ward has not met the specifications of the the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC. 

This piece of information contradicts the Commissioner's who, as at last month, said there is an Covid-19 Isolation Centre with over 25 bed capacity and well equipped and ready for use. 

However, according to the NMA, 'The Cross River State Government currently has no Isolation Centre. The 4-bed capacity Isolation Unit at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar is the Infectious Disease Ward of the Department of Microbiology, UCTH. According to the report of April 8, 2020 by the Central Working Committee of Health Professionals in Cross River State made up of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Association of Medical Laboratory Scientist of Nigeria (AMLSN) and Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), to the Commissioner for Health 

"UCTH Isolation Centre lacked basic facilities, equipment and accessories based on NCDC specifications. The patient capacity of UCTH Isolation Centre is grossly inadequate. Hence, we recommend that the State Government should set up a more expansive and accommodating Isolation Centre as soon as possible". 





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