The Health Writers’ Association of Nigeria (HEWAN), on Wednesday called for the establishment of more testing centres in view of the increasing number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
Mrs Chioma Obinna, President of the Association, in a statement in Lagos, said that the few testing laboratories in the country were inadequate.
Nigeria News Agency reports that as at 8.p.m on Tuesday, April 7, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) had confirmed 254 cases of COVID-19 and Six deaths in Nigeria, while 44 persons had recovered from the disease in the country.
“With the rate at which the cases are rising in Nigeria, there could be more cases if appropriate measures are not taken to limit the spread of infection in the states and within the healthcare delivery system.
“While acknowledging efforts made so far by the Federal Government, NCDC, State Governments and other agencies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, we strongly advocate for an increase in the number of testing centres across the country.
“Also, government should mobilise human and material resources at its disposal to immediately stop the spread of the virus before it becomes too late as WHO had warned, “it said.
The statement also urged government at all levels to fund continued research efforts for vaccines, treatments and diagnostics of COVID-19.
According to the statement, research effort is vital if Nigeria wants to end the pandemic and prevent future tragedies just as the pace and impact of the spread of this virus is unprecedented.
The statement also urged the federal government to institute attractive welfare package and health insurance cover for health workers combating COVID-19 in the country.
“Healthcare workers represent one of the most vulnerable populations in terms of contracting the highly virulent disease due to the nature of their jobs and therefore, must be adequately taken care of .
“The welfare package should be well defined and spelt out in line with global standards.
“To have a fighting chance against COVID-19, government should ensure that health workers are properly equipped with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other medical critical supplies to ensure they can safely and appropriately care for patients with COVID-19, “it said.
The group also appealed that funds raised by individuals and corporate organisations for the Coronavirus fight should be judiciously used and accounted for.
“Now is the time for drastic action. It will be challenging, but it will give us the best chance to save lives, “the statement said.
Edited By: Vivian Ihechu and Isaac Ukpoju