By Victor Ogunje
As part of efforts to curtail the spread of coronavirus in Ekiti State, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has called for the immediate decentralisation of the isolation centres built in Ado Ekiti, the capital city.
The doctors said the upsurge in the number of active cases at the 10-bed isolation centre was terrifying, adding that it would be appropriate to establish more centres at the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Ado Ekiti and the Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido Ekiti, as precautionary measures.
The medical practitioners appealed to Governor Kayode Fayemi to domesticate the agreements reached by their colleagues with federal government on the payment of new hazard allowance and insurance cover for medical workers, to serve as morale booster at this precarious time.
This is contained in a statement by NMA Chairman, Ekiti chapter, Dr Tunji Omotayo, on Tuesday.
Worried by the increasing spread of the pandemic and its backlash on medical workers, Omotayo said: “We salute the government for upgrading the facilities at the state isolation centre, urgent efforts are needed to provide additional isolation centres in the tertiary health institutions in the state.
“Owing to the availability of specialist cadre practitioners, emergency and the intensive care units of these tertiary hospitals must function at full capacity at this time.”
Omotayo added that the disparity in emoluments between state and federal healthcare workers in the state is not a good recipe to boost morale.
“Full domestication of the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding between the federal government and healthcare workers for their Ekiti State counterparts will be a timely morale booster.
“Payment of outstanding salaries at this time would also restore faith and confidence in the system,” he said.
The NMA chief said inasmuch as his members were resolute to defeat the scourge, provision of appropriate preventive equipment in the management of COVID-19 cases is non-negotiable.
Omotayo appealed to security agencies enforcing the lockdown directive to always allow his members, whose families reside in neighbouring states to visit them without molestation.
“We have received complaints of harassment while transiting the state boundary axis. We request that they be granted passage on presentation of valid identifications.
“As the novel disease festers, healthcare professionals in general and doctors in particular have not been exempted and the enormity of the scourge has dawned on us,” he added.