The ad hoc Expert Medical Advisory Committee (EMAC) on the de-escalation of the COVID-19 transmission set up by the Enugu State Government has interfaced with notable religious leaders and leaders of market and transport unions in the state.
The state government had recently constituted a 12-man committee of medical doctors on the recommendation of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Enugu State chapter. The committee which has Prof. Emmanuel Ejim, a consultant cardiologist as its chairman is charged to engage all strategic stakeholders with a view to recommending “urgent and effective measures for the de-escalation of the transmission of Coronavirus infection in the state with due regard to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) extant protocols for the prevention of coronavirus infection transmission.”
In their separate interface with the committee, the Catholic Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Most Rev. CallistusOnaga and the Anglican Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province, Most Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma bemoaned the lack of compliance with the use of face masks by majority of the residents, adding that efforts must be geared towards improving the people’s hygiene practices.
Bishop Onaga stressed on the need to reach out to the suburbs and rural areas in order to enforce compliance with the safety measures for the containment of the spread of the virus. He also reiterated the need for more enlightenment, especially in the rural areas where many people still doubt the existence of COVID-19.
In a similar vein, Archbishop Chukwuma suggested stricter enforcement of the preventive measures, noting that all hands must be on deck to ensure that both urban and rural dwellers maintain social distancing, use of alcohol-based sanitizers and face masks.
In furtherance of its mandate, the EMAC members also dialogued with the leaders of the various markets in the Enugu metropolis as well as transport union leaders, who regretted the low use of face masks and poor compliance with regular hand washing and other personal hygiene practices in the markets and motor parks.
The market and transport union leaders attributed the poor observance with the stipulated preventive measures to negligence and the erroneous belief by some persons that COVID-19 is not real.
Earlier in his speech, Ejim, a professor of medicine and the chairman of the committee told the union leaders that it had become necessary to interface with them in the face of the new spikes of COVID-19 infection in the state and the urgent need to contain its spread.
The engagement meeting was attended by the chairman of Enugu East Local Government Council, Hon. Alex Ugwu and his counterparts from Enugu North, Hon. EmekaOnunze and Enugu South, Hon. Monday Eneh.