The Nigerian Medical Association, Cross River stare Chapter has kicked against plans by government to commence a trial resumption of three public schools in the state.
It was learned that each of the three public schools will re-open in three Senatorial Districts across the state on June 16, 2020.
The association gave the warning in a press release jointly signed by its Chairman, Dr Agam Ayuk and the Secretary, Dr Ezoke Epoke on Saturday in Calabar and made available to our correspondent.
It stated that to the medical community, there was a lack of evidence to ascertain the actual Covid-19 status and disease burden in the state due to the unacceptable low number of tests carried out.
The Association insists that the quick l resumption of schools, despite genuine reasons, has the potential of significant disease outbreak among students. They however, advocates for the adoption of educational technologies to provide remote learning opportunities and educational programmes for students in public schools in the interim.
According to the release, the technology which is currently being implemented by private schools should be encouraged until a national policy is introduced on the unified resumption of schools by the Federal Government.
“The declaration by the Cross River Government on a trial resumption of three public schools in each of the three Senatorial Districts in the state to commence on June 16, 2020, is alarming.
“The gross under-testing for COVID-19 in Cross River is a significant public health concern. The COVID-19 tests breakdown by states as at June 10, 2020, released by NCDC revealed that Cross River has carried out only nine tests using the NCDC Molecular Laboratory. The Association continues to advocate for up scaling of COVID-19 testing in the state.
“The Association uses this medium to appeal to both the federal and state governments to expedite plans for accreditation of Dr Lawrence Henshaw Memorial Hospital, Calabar, a Bio-Safety Level Three Laboratory and University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar, as testing centres for COVID-19,” they said. NMA further explained that the accreditation of these centres will not only upscale testing in the state but will also reduce the turnaround time for COVID-19 tests.
The Association insists that the increasing report of flu-like symptoms, respiratory symptoms and loss of smell/taste in various hospitals and the state metropolis is an indication of potential community transmission of an undetected disease fitting the epidemiological pattern of COVID-19.
“We wish to reiterate the urgent implementation of 100 per cent Consolidate Medical Salary Structure and Consolidated Health Salary Structure as the only means of retaining this critical workforce in the state Civil Service.
“The Association and her members remain committed to working with the state and the Federal Government to fight the COVID-19 pandemic,” the release said.