by Juliana K. Tauna, Kaduna
The North-west caucus of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), on Friday, 24th April, 2020, expressed worry over the rising cases the COVID-19 pandemic in the region, noting that the zone is becoming the next epicenter of the virus.
The resident doctors, however, hailed the contributions of doctors and other health workers in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.
A statement signed by Dr Ibrahim Abubakar Umar and Dr Emmanuel Joseph, who are both secretary and vice chairman, respectively, of the association in Kaduna, appreciated the sacrifices being made by doctors in Kano, Katsina, Kaduna, Jigawa and Sokoto States where the virus had been confirmed.
The association commended other healthcare workers, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Government and Nigerians in general for the efforts so far made to combat the pandemic.
“As at April 20, 2020, the NCDC has conducted over seven thousand tests in Nigeria, and our region has 83 confirmed cases out of 665 nationwide. This accounts for 12.5 per cent of national burden of COVID-19 cases,” it said.
It noted that, “Although, the cases were lower than other regions – with two out of 22 deaths in the country – it was alarming that these numbers were on the upward trajectory daily, with the north-west region fast becoming the neo-epicentre in the country.
“There has been an influx of persons from other affected parts of the country, despite the lockdown measures by government, to contain the disease spread.”
The resident doctors also expressed concern that there were clear indications of community spread of the virus, as most of the cases in the zone had no prior travel history.
“Worsening the situation is the continuous inadequate provision of necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) by various hospital managements. With reports that some hospitals do not readily make these available, others claimed unavailability due to lack of funding by the government to the teaching hospitals in the fight against this scourge.”
It said that the situation would threaten the wellbeing of its members, who were on the frontline of attending to patients.
It stressed that the safety and wellbeing of heath personnel must be taken seriously by government, if the country was to win the war against Coronavirus.
“In the same breath, we emphasize the need to immediately implement the ECA and MoU jointly signed by representatives of the Federal Government and leaders of NMA, PSN, NANNM, and JOHESU for all other healthcare workers in the face of various infectious diseases like COVID-19, Lassa fever, etc.
“And we must be reminded that Lassa fever has killed more people in 2020 than COVID-19; hence emphasizing the sacrifice our members have to make daily to keep Nigeria safe,” it further said.
The association pledged to monitor events as they unfolded and take appropriate necessary action(s).
“We want to reassure our members of our unflinching commitment to their welfares, especially during this turbulent period, and we appeal for calm even in the presence of numerous provocations.
“We also implore our members to observe current updated guidelines of the NCDC on safety and precautions in the discharge of our duties,” it added.