COVID-19: Journalists Association calls for more action

The Association of Nigeria Health Journalists ANHEJ is deeply concerned over the daily increase of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country.

The president of the association, Mr. Hassan Zaggi, issued this in a statement in Abuja.

H e said that a considerable number of the newly confirmed cases are not imported.

Mr. Zaggi said that the implication of the new cases is that the Nigerian situation is gradually getting to community spread of the diseases.

This is evident in the case of aides of some top government functionaries who are said to have come down with the illness without travelling outside the country. They contracted it from their bosses. Even though it is not time to apportion blames, as journalists covering the health sector, we have, at various media briefings organized by the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, observed the need for forced isolation instead of the current method of self-isolation being adopted by the federal government.

We have severally argued that some Nigerians may not observe the voluntarily 14-days self-isolation, hence, the need to force them in order to prevent them from spreading the disease in the country. Our fears seem to be coming true“, Mr Zaggi said.

Tracking down contacts with government functionaries
ANHEJ also called on the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control NCDC, to as a matter of urgency, track all the people that might have had close contact with the top government functionaries who are currently down with the Covid-19.

“Nobody should be left out no matter how highly placed.

All the relations, aides and close friends of the top government officials who are currently down with the disease should be quickly mopped up and placed under forced isolation for the mandatory 14 days“. ANHEJ said.

Zaggi said that considering most of the states in the country are closing businesses, the rural areas will definitely witness  influx of those coming from the city, hence, the tendency to have the disease spread to the rural areas.

Primary healthcare centres to have needed workforce
ANHEJ advised the federal and state governments to intensify efforts to ensure that Primary Healthcare Centres PHCs have the needed workforce with the required skill to identify suspected cases and report to the appropriate authorities for necessary action.

The statement  also called on the Federal Ministry of Health, the NCDC, to provide all the necessary protective materials to its members who are at the centre of this crisis.

We are therefore, determined to work closely with all relevant government agencies, the private sector and Non Governmental Organisations NGOs, the way we did during Ebola crisis to provide our people with the needed information”, it said.

Source: Voice of Nigeria