Implement protocols on COVID-19 testing, NGO urges kogi govt

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(Lokoja)

The coalition of civil society networks, Kogi NGO Network (KONGONET), has called on the state government to to quickly implement the NCDC protocols on testing to ensure that the state truly does not have COVID-19 and prevent citizens and residents from possible outbreak.

In a statement issued by the Chairman, Idris Ozovehe Muraina in Lokoja on Wednesday, KONGONET insisted that collection of samples and testing remained the only sure way to confirm COVID-19 cases.

The NGO said that the rationale of the state government in stating that there were no cases of COVID-19 ” is illogical if samples are not collected and sent for testing.

Duaglobalnews reports that KONGONET champions the promotion of participatory democracy and good governance in Kogi State, through advocacy and policy influencing for the well-being of Kogites.

The group also cautioned Kogi state government officials to desist from making inflammatory comments on the competence of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in order not to erode the confidence of the citizens in the agency.

According to it, the agency is saddled with responsibility of containing the pandemic disease.

Muraina said:“With the setting up of the Kogi State Squadron committee on COVID -19, the civil society had expected a coordinated response in the state, in terms of testing and contact tracing.

“We had hoped for a rapid roll out of sample collections teams to ensure that as many of our citizens as possible get access to the testing services and thus provide us with the data needed to address the pandemic.

“We are, however, saddened that more than 5 weeks after the committee was set up, little or no sample had been collected and sent to the NCDC laboratory.

“This is happening despite repeated calls by NCDC, medical workers, community stakeholders and civil society organizations

“The recent surge in cases in the two tertiary facilities in Lokoja (FMC and State Specialist Hospital), where COVID -19 is suspected but test samples not collected is alarming.

“The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) Kogi State Chapter and the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) FMC Lokoja chapter, have at different times recently called on the state to follow laid down protocol of testing.

“This is to ensure that healthcare workers are protected, through screening for COVID -19 before they can attend to any of the patients’ conditions.

“This issue may lead to the abandonment of patients at the facilities due to fear of the virus.

“A worrying development in our communities is the large proportion of our citizens who do not believe in the existence of COVID -19.

” This has been made worse by the consistent feedback from state government in their press releases, wherein they claim that there is a conspiracy by authorities to infect the state.

” All these have created a toxic environment for community awareness activities.

“There is need to put aside personal believes and allow the science to direct our response to this pandemic,” the coalition stressed.

KONGONET also called on the state government to provide personal protective equipment (PPEs) to frontline health workers to ensure they are adequately protected to perform their duties.

The Network advised residents to continue to adhere to NCDC protocols on the containment of the pandemic, through regular hand washing, social distancing and the use of sanitizers.

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