The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to issue an Executive Order to enforce compliance with the stay at home directive for non-essential workers.
NMA President, Dr. Francis Faduyile, made the call to Buhari at a news conference on Thursday, March 26, in Abuja.
He said the call became imperative in curtailing the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Nigeria.
“We are observing with dismay that some State Governments are vacillating on the closure of schools and banning social and religious gatherings; basking in the euphoria that there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in their states.
“NMA demands uniformity in implementing the lockdown orders on non-essential services. We, therefore, call on Buhari to issue an Executive Order to enforce compliance,” he said.
Faduyile who appreciated efforts so far put in by the government at all levels to contain the pandemic; however, said that certain key strategies had been largely absent or sub-optimally implemented.
These according to him, including effective coordination between federal and state governments; as well as other stakeholders to ensure that the efforts are not wasted.
“NMA particularly observes that going by what is being put out by the media, relevant federal and states authorities are working independently thus leaving several grounds uncovered.
“The association further notes that a more result-oriented situation would be one; where federal and state governments are comparing notes, sharing intelligence and taking a uniform stand on issues.
“Issues such as modalities for effective implementation of interrupting the chain of transmission (social distancing), case detection, contact tracing, and self- isolation.
“These lapses have resulted in the recent cases where some individuals defaulted the self-quarantine directives and went about mixing freely with the public,” he said.
The NMA president lamented the absence of purpose-isolation centres; unlike in the past where Infectious Diseases Hospitals, existed in every state of the federation.
Faduyile said to make matters worse, in most of the hospitals; there was severe inadequacy of critical care facilities like purpose-built Intensive Care Units (ICU).
“These ICUs with ventilators/artificial respirators make the difference between life and death in complications from Covid-19. It is scary that the dearth of these facilities is the same in all the 36 states and the FCT.
“Given these defaults/inadequacies; NMA, therefore, calls for immediate commencement of supervised self-isolation in any manner that will protect public health.”
He lauded the leadership role played by the federal government so far and efforts of some state governments,
especial Lagos State, in containing the looming danger.
He also lauded philanthropy of individuals like Alhaji Aliko Dangote and Mrs Folorunsho Alakija, who had made substantial donations to assist the country in the fight against coronavirus, while calling on others to emulate.