By Chioma Obinna
As President Muhammadu Buhari reopens Lagos and Abuja after a four weeks lockdown, health workers under the auspices of the Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals, NUAHP, have expressed concerns over the increase in reported cases of COVID-19, saying, “the present rate of spread of the virus should not be treated with kid-glove by the government.”
Meanwhile, the Union has demanded the immediate reversal of the decision by Federal Government to relax lockdown in Lagos, Abuja and Ogun State In a press statement entitled: “The Danger of Relaxing COVID 19 Pandemic Lockdown”, the health workers stressed that the COVID 19 Pandemic curve in the country was yet to be flattened.
The statement jointly signed by the National President of the NUAHP, Dr. Obinna Ogbonna and the General Secretary, Comrade Martin Adekunle Egbanubi, noted that as a union with members on the frontlines, they cannot but caution the Federal and affected State Governments to continue with the lockdown until adequate measures have been taken to contain it. “The nation should not be thrown into an astronomical spread of unimaginable proportion.
“We must not forget the fact that the deficit of health professionals, medical consumables, and facilities in our country would not be able to handle whatever upsurge that may arise due to the high incidences especially the community transmission that is been presently witnessed in some parts of the country. “As of today, Nigeria has recorded 2,388 infected cases and a total of 85 deaths. According to the Nigeria Centre for Diseases Control (NCDC), only 16,588 cases have been tested so far in a population of about 200 million people. We should avoid repeating the initial national mistake of ignoring our call for early stringent measures at all entry points into Nigeria at the onset of this pandemic.
This premature relaxation is suicidal; and if allowed, has the capacity of eroding all our gains in the fight against COVID-19.,” NUAHP stated. Demanding for the immediate reversal of the decision by the Federal Government to relax lockdown in Lagos, Abuja, and Ogun State, they also called for the procurement of more testing kits and centres nationwide as well as the establishment of more isolation centres.
Continuing, the workers demanded the strengthening and encouraging research on the development of vaccines, the involvement of more healthcare workers on the frontlines, support for the textile and garment industries and laboratories in the production of face masks, rapid test kits, hand sanitizers, and ventilators. Other demands include; provision of more Personal Protective Equipment for frontline workers, expansion of testing beyond those who have contact with index cases, immediate deployment of Rapid Response Team (RRT) to support response in all states of the federation, continuous training of frontline health workers and others, decontamination of most visited public places most especially offices and market places, groundswell advocacy on compulsory wearing of face masks, hand washing and maintaining social and physical distancing, provision of more incentives to further motivate the frontline workers especially those in the health sector and security agencies, deployment of health workers, who understand viral warfare better, to lead and supervise the security team in the lockdown operation of our various borders and extension of palliatives to more vulnerable Nigerians.
They insisted that to ease the lockdown, the government must meet the above demands.