From Noah Ocheni, Lokoja
The Kogi state coalition of professional bodies in the health sector has cautioned the State Government over the lifting of the ban on religious gatherings in the state.
A statement by Kogi NMA Chairman, Dr Kabiru Zubair, on behalf of the group in Lokoja, urged the government to thread with caution on the lifting of ban on gathering at this time, saying the nation was just entering the second phase of the Covid-19 transmission.
The health professional bodies includes: Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) and Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN).
The state government had, on Thursday, lifted the ban placed on all religious congregations across the state a fortnight ago, as part of measures to contain the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic in the state.
The health professionals noted that the Community transmission was gradually over taking the imported cases and set to escalate in the coming days.
”As those already infected go through the incubation period without being identified, community transmission is likely to increase.Although, Kogi has not recorded any case so far but, two of it’s indigenes have died of the disease outside the state and the potential for community spread still exists.”
”The preventive measures put in place by the Government initially was commendable, but government must be very tactical in relaxing these measures, especially with respect to gathering in large numbers because of the highly contagious nature of this strain of Coronavirus,” he said
He stressed that the Task Force comprising all health care workers in Kogi was worried as the state’s healthcare system remained fragile and might not be able to withstand any catastrophic emergencies.
He added that the Task Force had in the last three weeks carried out weekly appraisal of the health system on the level of preparedness for COVID-19 in the state, but observed little or no change in most of the healthcare institutions visited with respect to case management.
”We observed the slow pace of work at the designated isolation centre in the State and the leaders of the frontline staff in health care delivery in Kogi, we urge the Government to expedite action in equipping the isolation and treatment centres to a befitting standard,” he said.
He urged all health workers at all levels in the state to remain vigilant at all times as they might likely encounter cases of COVID-19 as community spread was set to escalate in the coming days.
”Under no circumstances should our members rush to attend to patients without donning appropriate personal protective gears,” he advised.
He called on government at all level to improve on the hazard allowance of health care workers, especially those exposed to high risk of infection.
He urged the public to take all necessary precautions to stay safe by observing social distancing, regular hand hygiene, cough etiquette, face masked, and avoid touching of mouth, eyes and nose without proper hand hygiene.