…As Nigerians in South Africa to march in solidarity with youths on #EndSARS***
The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has disclosed that the association lost 16 members to COVID-19 since the outbreak of the pandemic eight months ago.
Prof. Baba Issa, Chairman of Kwara NMA, disclosed this on Monday during a Press Conference organised to mark the 2020 Physician’s Week held in Ilorin.
He said: “Nigeria in the past eight months has had a fair share of the disease and has battled relentlessly to contain the rising cases of the infection, affecting every state in the nation, albeit disproportionately.
“As at Oct. 8, there were 1,031 doctors who were exposed to the virus in Nigeria and 321 confirmed cases.
“Sadly 16 doctors, mortality rate of 4.98 percent of our members, were painfully lost in the battle to save the lives of Nigerians.
“This is the prize we have to pay in obedience to Hippocratic oaths,” he said
Issa observed that the COVID-19 outbreak was an unexpected, alarming health crisis that had tested the best of health systems even in Europe and America.
According to him, the COVID-19 pandemic has nakedly exposed the inadequacies of health systems around the world in response to the pandemic.
“Sadly many health systems across the world were overwhelmed by the pandemic due to inadequate emergency preparedness and response, largely due to inadequate human resources, infrastructural deficit and medical consumables, including Personal Protective Equipment,” he said.
The NMA Chairman reminded federal and state governments of the Abuja Declaration of 2001, to allocate at least 15 per cent of their annual budgets to the health sector.
He pointed out that as COVID-19 spread and wreaked havoc across the world, the Federal Government should fulfill the pledge of allocating 15 per cent to health.
Issa observed that there was need for Nigeria to prioritize the health sector and allocate adequate resources, adding that Nigeria’s allocation to health in 2020 was a mere 4.16 per cent of the budget.
“The COVID-19 must jolt the Nigerian government to adequately invest in healthcare systems,” he said.
He charged the citizenry to continue to be vigilant and maintain the COVID-19 guidelines especially now that Nigeria appeared to be flattening the curve with rate of new infections.
Issa also condemned the kidnapping and killings of doctors and other health workers by insurgents and urged the Federal Government to do all in its power to rescue those in captivity.
The Chairman also urged the Federal Government to ensure the security and safety of other health workers as well as all Nigerians.
He further urged state governments to pay salaries and allowances of doctors.
In the meantime, hundreds of Nigerians based in South Africa say they will join the #EndSARS protests in solidarity with Nigerian youths who are demanding an end to police brutality and good governance among others.
They made the disclosure in a statement by the President of the Nigeria Union South Africa (NUSA), Mr Adetola Olubajo, on Monday in Lagos.
“Nigerians based in South Africa will gather on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020 for a Peaceful Protest March to the High Commission of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in Arcadia, Pretoria.
“A memorandum will be submitted to the Nigerian High Commissioner, Amb. Kabir Bala.
“The Peaceful Protest March is in support and in solidarity with Nigerian youths back home in Nigeria with regards to the ongoing #EndSars, #EndSWAT, #EndPoliceBrutality Protest,’’ Olubajo said in the statement made available to the newsmen.
He added: “We have been following the protest with keen interest to see what direction the Nigerian government will follow.
“But unsatisfied with the government’s response and pace in dealing with the issue, we deem it fit as Nigerians based in South Africa to join our voices to appeal to the Nigerian government to meet the demands of millions of Nigerian youths all over the world.
“We invite members of the media to cover the Peaceful Protest March.’’