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COVID-19: GMD, NARD raise the alarm over 3rd wave, Delta variant

Against the background of the outbreak of COVID-19 third wave in the country, particularly the entrant of the Delta variant of the virus in this clime, the Guild of Medical Directors (GMD) and the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) have raised the alarm concerning the impending danger that could be associated with this stage of the pandemic, while warning that COVID-19 has not ‘gone’ as is widely believed in the Nigerian environment.

 

 

Making the position of the GMD known yesterday, the President of the GMD, Prof. Femi Babalola, said, “COVID- 19 will be here for the foreseeable future.”

 

To this end, Babalola called on the Federal Government to find a means to make vaccines available because according to him, vaccinations are critically important for at least 70 per cent of the citizens. He described the advent of the Delta variant in Nigeria as very unfortunate.

 

“It is very highly transmissible and causes more severe illness. “It can easily take over the country if care is not taken.”

 

However, Babalola lamented that many people in Nigeria are under the erroneous impression that COVID 19 has gone, hence they get very careless with compliance to safety protocols that could curb the spread of the virus.

 

On the contrary, he said: “COVID-19 has not “gone,” adding, “and it will be here for the foreseeable future.” While highlighting some of the lack of preparedness to address the pandemic at this state, the president of the GMD stated that, “some states have dismantled their taskforces and sent their health personnel home.

“Some of these frontline workers had not been compensated for their sacrifice!” While urging the Federal Government to seek means of making vaccines available, he noted that even vaccines are not enough.

“The use of chemoprophylactic drugs such as Ivermectin is also highly recommended, even for people who have been vaccinated.”

 

In addition, Babalola advised that social distancing, using face masks, avoidance of indoor gatherings and the isolation of sick people/ contacts are absolutely necessary. “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty!,” he added.

 

Speaking in similar vein, the President of NARD, Dr. Okhuaihesuyi Uyilawa, noted that although, in developed nations, funds were released to appropriate institutions saddled with the responsibility to combat the disease, in Nigeria, when funds are appropriated to tackle the pandemic, they are embezzled into private accounts.

 

He asked, “How then do you except people to work.” While he alerted that Nigeria is not on course with regard to its response to the pandemic, Uyilawa lamented that there hasn’t been the training and retraining of persons and organisations involved in these brigade of infectious diseases, adding that even when they do train, it’s hijacked by a select few for their friends and families. To this end, the president of NARD frowned at poor policies planning and programmes by the ministries, departments and Agencies (MDA) involved in tackling this menace.

 

According to him, “We (Nigeria) aren’t on course.” On whether the country is making some efforts, he said, “Yes but snail-paced”. “We are an oil nation that should wage war against the third wave so it doesn’t consume us.” On what should be done to address the pandemic,

 

Uyilawa said: “Don’t embezzle funds meant for research, put more funds into research, train and refrain personnel, make vast the policymakers to include the young ones, who are fresh with ideas and innovations.”

 

While reacting on the impact of many states that have abandoned COVID-19 testing, the president of NARD noted, “Testing is key to the surveillance and production of data. If you don’t test, you can treat, isolate and get data to know if you are truly winning.”

 

He described public compliance to safety protocols as quite poor. Uyilawa observed that Nigerians and humans generally are difficult. “People violate all the laid down protocols as prescribed by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). So, it’s difficult to actually enforce them.”

 

According to the NCDC, the total number of cases has grown to 171, 728, with Lagos State leading the way, despite the Governor of the state, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, warning of a potential third wave of the Coronavirus pandemic in the state.

 

According to the governor, the number of confirmed cases, which had previously been decreased to a 1 per cent average at the end of June, has abruptly risen to a 6.6 per cent rate as of July 8.

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