The Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, on Thursday warned the Federal government against the adoption of the newly approved World Health Organisation, WHO’s home treatment policy for COVID-19 patients. In advisory jointly signed by the President, Dr. Francis Faduyile, and the Secretary, Dr. Olumuyiwa Odusote, they further pointed out that the full adoption of the new guidelines may lead to an explosive regime of community transmission. According to them, while the association acknowledged the noticeable acute shortage of bed spaces available at the designated centres, the peculiarities in the country should be taken into consideration before adopting the newly approved guidelines

The medical doctors counseled that Nigeria has an average of six persons per household; and consequently, wholesale adoption of the guideline may not be applicable in a country like Nigeria. “We risk an explosive regime of community transmission if we adopt the guidelines completely without modifications, especially in situations of poor housing and overcrowding.”

Further, the NMA said revamping the country’s abandoned General Hospitals and Primary Health Centres (PHCs) would mitigate the challenges with home treatment and acute shortage of bed spaces. “We still maintain that Isolation and Treatment centres should stand-alone to avoid the nosocomial spread of this infection especially in settings of poor hygiene practices.

If we adopt the guidelines completely without modifications, especially in situations of poor housing and overcrowding, we will risk an explosion of cases in communities.” Continuing, the association lamented that the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, has carried out only 29,400 tests, hence, the need for the agency to fast-track testing using innovative specimen collection and transport modalities to ameliorate the deficit in technique.

NMA appreciates quite immensely the Coalition against COVID-19 (CA-COVID) which is a coalition of corporate Nigeria mobilizing resources to mitigate the embarrassing infrastructural deficiencies in the health sector for the management of the outbreak. We appeal that they extend their humanitarian and patriotic gesture outside Abuja to other parts of the Federation as promised, especially the States with high incidence. “NMA also calls on the Coalition not to abandon healthcare delivery to the government alone post-COVID as the current pandemic has exposed several deficiencies in the system.

As Nigeria records its 5000th COVID-19 positive case, NMA makes the following observations and proffers the accompanying solutions; The NMA also expressed displeasure over the continued obstruction of the National Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, by the governments of Kogi and Cross River State despite the lofty provisions in the NCDC Establishment Act (2018) which empower the organization to “prevent, detect, monitor and control” activities and programmes for the national response against infectious diseases epidemics among others. “NMA views this development as unfortunate, condemnable, and requires urgent intervention by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. “

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