The Nigerian Medical Association on Sunday advised federal and state governments against disregarding medical experts’ advice on COVID-19.
The NMA President, Professor Innocent Ujah, stated this in a telephone interview with one of PUNCH’s Correspondence while commenting on government’s decision to reopen schools beginning from Monday (today).
Ujah stated that although the association would not advise government not to reopen schools, he stated that authorities must ensure compliance with COVID-19 guidelines of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.
The experts spoke as coronavirus cases in the country rose from 75,062 on December 17, 2020 to 108,943 on Sunday, January 17, 2021.
Also during the same period, COVID-19 deaths increased from 1,200 to 1,420, an increase of 220.
Advising government on the rising cases, the NMA president stated, “What we are saying is that for schools to reopen, authorities must be prepared. We don’t know how long COVID-19 will last for us to say schools should not reopen.
“But what we are saying is that they (school authorities) must prepare to comply with the NCDC protocols of hand washing at several points not just one point.
“In the universities where we have a large number of people in faculties and departments, there must be points for hand washing and sanitizers. The issue of face mask is a must and social distancing in the classrooms is also important.”
He suggested that lectures should conducted online, adding, “Once we comply with these protocols, I believe they will reduce the spread.”
While stating that the association had earlier advised Federal Government not to deploy people for the National Youth Service Corps, Ujah, who is also Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Health Sciences, Otukpo, Benue State, said that the NMA would continue to advise authorities.He stated, “The NMA said that the NYSC should not deploy corps member for now. We don’t know what government will do, but we have to advise that authorities must listen to experts. That is one way of making progress, therefore reducing infections.”