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Coronavirus: Cross River NMA shuns order from parent body, insists on indefinite strike

The Cross River State chapter of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has shunned the order from the President of the Association (NMA) Dr Francis Adebayo Faduyile

The President had on Friday directed all branches of the Association whose members (Doctors) were on strike, no matter the reason, to call off the strike for the sake of COVID-19 and resume work on Monday.

But the Cross River State Branch of the Association says such orders cannot be obeyed as their members’ wife, Mrs Christiana Ekanem who was kidnapped on March 10th has since not been released.

In a press statement signed by the Chairman, Dr Agam E. Ayuk and made available to newsmen on Saturday, the association insists that its members would not suspend the indefinite withdrawal of medical services embarked upon on March 12, 2020 until the wife of their colleague, Mrs Christiana Ekanem is released.

The Chairman expressed the Association’s displeasure over the continued incarceration of Mrs Ekanem who has remained in captivity for 11 days with possible deterioration of her health condition noting that her continued stay in captivity had caused trauma and distress on the family and members of the Association.

“The Cross River Government has not shown any political will to facilitate the safe release of Mrs Ekanem, neither has the government scaled up any measures to curtail the abysmal insecurity situation in the state.

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NMA in Cross River will continue her indefinite withdrawal of services until Mrs Ekanem is released safely and unconditionally. Her life and safety is as important as the life of any coronavirus victim.

“The state owes all citizens residing in Cross River equal rights to safety. Unfortunately, the safe release of Mrs Ekanem cannot wait until Covid-19 is contained and we cannot afford to abandon her to fate.

“The Association hereby reiterates her call on Gov. Ben Ayade to expedite the safe release of Mrs Ekanem and put measures in place to secure lives and properties in the state as his primary responsibility”, he said.

Ayuk disclosed that Cross River has not recorded any case of Coronavirus, adding NMA remain committed to emergency preparedness and the health of Cross Riverians as they were equally part of the process of enlightenment and emergency preparedness.

He called on the state government and all stakeholders to implement proactive steps to curb the pandemic of COVID-19 through public health education, reducing public gatherings and designing treatment protocols.

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“NMA is calling for the up scaling of effective training of health care personnel, especially those in the frontline in both public and private facilities. We are fully committed to ensuring this is realised to prevent abandoned and shabby treatment of victims.

“We hereby call on the National Centre for Disease Control and the state government to support the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital to adequately build the capacity of the isolation centre to manage critical cases”, he stated

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