The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has described the second wave of the covid-19 pandemic as being more deadly than the first, going by the increasing number of new infections and deaths in recent times.
It further lamented the non-adherence of Nigerians to the non-pharmaceutical measures of hand washing, sanitizing, proper use of face masks, and practicing social distancing by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), noting that more sensitization is needed as many do not know that the virus is still very active in communities.
Similarly, the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) and Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN), disclosed that people have thrown caution to the wind with respect to observing safety measures, especially as it relates to mass gatherings and practicing social distancing.
Reports from the NCDC, shows that out of 77,933 confirmed cases since the beginning of the pandemic, as at the 20th of December, there are 8,931 active cases, with 1,218 deaths recorded so far.
Speaking with The Nation, the President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Prof. Innocent Ujah, said: “I must say that this second wave appears to be more deadly than the first. We require a lot of caution, preparation and commitment. For the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), at our NEC meeting, we deliberated and decided that not only should we be involved in case management, we should also be involved in sensitization and advocacy.
“That is, sensitization to the public and advocacy to the government and stakeholders so that they can support the government. We should improve our testing and comply strictly with the NCDC protocol. There is no replacement for it at the moment and it is good to prevent because it has no cure. Therefore, it is better to prevent that subjecting people to Case Management that may not be successful.
“As far as the doctors are concerned, we are committed to working with the government so that we can get things sorted out, that is, we should commit ourselves to Case Management. We lost some of our members to this pandemic and it is part of the risk of our profession.
“This disease is killing a lot of people. So, there is an urgent need to sensitize the public. If we are able to do this, I believe we will reduce the fatalities to the barest minimum, but the government should do more testing, and the National Orientation Agency (NOA) should please come to the aid of Nigerians by sensitizing the public in various languages not just in English.
“I hope that in the 2021 budget it is captured because a huge amount of money must be made available for the containment.”
The President of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), Dr. Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, said: “What I actually think is that we have thrown caution into the air. We tend not to be aware that there is a second wave. If you check the numbers that we are having every day, you will see that the numbers seem to be skyrocketing. Therefore, part of the precautionary measures we were taking earlier during the first infection, are no longer being adhered to.
“People still go to churches, mosques and people still attend social gatherings and all those places, without being aware that infection is still ongoing. Although there are no statistics to tell us the number of mortality and morbidity associated with the second wave, therefore, I think this is something we should work on. The government needs to try to do more of education.
“If we insist that every Nigerian should wear a face mask and avoid gatherings and insist on avoiding social gatherings, I believe that these are the ways that we can at least try to stop the spread of the second wave of covid-19.
“Part of what we do as an Association is free medical checks and health talks which we do, and we share sanitizers and face masks. We have been doing this for the past 3 weeks. We are able to educate people around us generally on the essence of the second wave and the ways to follow precautionary measures to avoid getting infected.”
The President of the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN), Prof. James Damen, said: “What we are doing is actually to look into the laboratory to see how the diagnosis can be improved on. We are also talking to our members to see how we can also improve what we call the turnaround time so that people can get their results as at when due.
“We are also advocating that the government should empower the Medical Laboratories Science Council of Nigeria to be able to evaluate all the test kits that are actually coming into the country because some of these kits are fake, and if you use it without validation, there is a possibility that you can have results that are not reliable.”