COVID-19: Edo govt berates NMA over false, misleading comments on efforts to check spread
The Edo State Government has chided the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Edo State Branch, over false and misleading comments on the government’s efforts to check the spread of Coronavirus pandemic in the state.
In a letter addressed to the Chairman, NMA, Edo State Branch, Valentine Omoifo, the Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie Esq., said the body was spreading self-evident inaccuracies and outright falsehood in a letter titled “COVID-19 Response in Edo State: A Call For Further Action,” and circulated on print and electronic media.
Ogie noted, “Ordinarily, we would have ignored the said letter because of the self- evident inaccuracies and outright falsehood which it conveys.”
He said the NMA has neglected its role in the face of a pandemic, noting, “We are amazed that at such a time as this when all efforts are being made to stem the tide of the rampaging pandemic, the Nigerian Medical Association, Edo State Chapter, which should be at the forefront of those efforts is being led by you to issue false, misleading and uncharitable comments by your letter under reference.”
“We also note that while other Associations and Unions are making pledges and physical donations in support of the fight against the pandemic, you are busy dragging the NMA along the path of confrontation,” he added.
Ogie also scolded the NMA over its non-representation in the state Taskforce inaugurated by the state government to check the spread of COVID-19 in the state, adding, “Since the committee was inaugurated, and for reasons best known to you, you have neither attended meetings (except once) nor made yourself available for any of the assignments of the committee and all messages sent to invite you via WhatsApp were neither acknowledged nor responded to. Nonetheless, the committee has recorded appreciable success in its preparations against the pandemic and is fully ready to take on its assignment.
“You will also recall that as part of this committee, you were part of a Team led by the Deputy Governor which inspected the sites then being constructed and renovated as Isolation, Holding and Screening Centres. It is on record that during the inspection, you expressed satisfaction about the level of preparedness of the State Government against the pandemic.”
Ogie said contrary to the claim of the Edo State chapter of the NMA, measures put in place by Government on social distancing have been largely effective.
He said, “May we remind you that Government is not a dictatorship and cannot resort to dictatorial means in attempting to enforce its directives as your letter appears to suggest. From inception, the approach of this administration has always been to put the people first and encourage them to comply with lawful directives, hence the decision of Government to embark on massive sensitisation to drive the policy of social distancing. We concede that we have not recorded total compliance, but we are confident that the initiative has been largely successful.”
He added that it is on record that the Edo State Government has trained 276 members of the NMA from the Hospitals Management Board, Primary Health Care Centres and Private Practitioners, adding, “Edo State Government has procured and continues to procure thousands of overall gowns, Personal Protective Equipment) face masks and hand gloves and has been constantly supplying all Government Hospitals (both State and Federal) and many Private Health Facilities within Edo State with such equipment. The Government of Edo State has trained healthcare workers involved in the fight against the pandemic and has also made adequate allowances for them during the period of this assignment.”
Ogie urged the Edo State NMA to refrain from creating confusion and discouraging other stakeholders who are committed to supporting the state government to check the spread of COVID-19, adding, “We strongly advise, in the interest of the professional body which you represent and the need to have all hands on Deck in curtailing the pandemic, that you urgently resume your membership at the COVID-19 Committee so that the NMA can play its part in the ongoing public/private partnership at stemming the tide of the pandemic.”
He continued, “On the allegation of non-functionality of the Isolation Centre at the Stella Obasanjo Hospital also raised by you, we wonder what you mean by non-functionality, especially in view of the fact that, as you recently saw for yourself, this facility is ready and fully equipped to receive patients. As a Government, we sincerely hope that we do not have to admit any patient in this hospital as this would signify success in the fight against the pandemic.
“We will like to recall and place on record the fact that since your letter under reference, you have, with the Deputy Governor, undertaken a joint inspection of the facilities and equipment available at the different sites in readiness to combat the disease and at this inspection, you expressed surprise at the very impressive arrangement already in place.
“Having seen the facilities and realised the incorrectness of the claims which your letter conveyed, we had expected you, as a thorough bred professional that we believe you are, to withdraw your letter under reference but you have failed or refused to do so.”