THE Rivers State Government, at the weekend, tackled the state’s chapter of Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) following the later’s claims that its members fighting the COVID-19 pandemic lacked adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Chairperson of NMA Dr. Obelebra Adebiyi, in an interview with reporters in Port Harcourt, lamented that 22 doctors and 60 other health workers at the frontline contracted the virus.
He appealed to Governor Nyesom Wike to urgently review hazard allowances paid to health workers.
But, Commissioner for Health Prof. Princewill Chike faulted the NMA’s claims, saying that the number of infections among medical workers and the association’s other assumptions were “baseless, untrue and misconstrued” for personal reasons.
Chike said: “It is incorrect to say that 82 health workers are infected with COVID in the state. This data is false and is not a reflection of the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) laboratory data or the numbers on the national data repository of the NCDC.
“One, therefore, wonders what gain comes from the deliberate distortion of figures in this attempt to grandstand. The state is ready to partner with the NMA for better health outcomes, but the NMA should be seen as a courageous partner and not a panic-creating machine in this pandemic.
“It is also untrue that healthcare workers are all infected because they lack Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Apart from the common observation that no category of professionals are spared from COVID, the state government has provided sufficient Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for all designated state treatment centres at all levels of care in our public facilities.
“In addition to that, the state government has donated large quantities of complete PPE sets to the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN), tertiary healthcare institutions in the state and other high volume facilities. This exercise is still ongoing.”