… Blast NCDC Boss for Saying All States Will Have Positive Cases
… Says ‘We Were Prepared Even Before a Case Was Recorded in Africa’
Cross River State is one of the two states in Nigeria that is yet to record any case of COVID-19, a development the state government has said, seems not to be welcomed by powers that be in the COVID-19 management in the country.
In this special interview with a TVC News Programme, “COVID-19 MYTHS AND FACTS”, conducted via skype and monitored by rolantimes.com, the Commissioner for Health in Cross River State, Dr. Betta Edu makes some shocking revelations about the undue pressure that the state is subjected to by powers that be, in order to be named amongst the states with COVID-19 positive cases at all cost.
PRESS: Hon. Commissioner, what is going on in Cross River State as it concerns COVID-19 fight or control?
COMMISSIONER: Cross River State, thankfully is one of the two states left as it concerns states that have not recorded COVID-19. We have had suspected cases in the past, we have send their samples to Ebonyi state and other centers and they have come back negative.
I think a week ago, the boss of NCDC said that every state in Nigeria will have the disease and it gave us some worry, because one would expect, it is the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, not the Nigeria Center for Disease Spread. And so they have that challenge to see that states do not have the disease. I think the thing of pride should be that states do not have cases rather than saying all states must have cases. It should be a challenge to the Federal Government and NCDC to ensure that the states that do no have cases stay clean.
Like I’ve been saying, Cross River state started its preventive strategy very early this year. We were the first state in Nigeria to set up and EOC for Coronavirus, we were the first state to begin sensitization even at rural areas, we were the first state in Nigeria to begin screening of people coming in to our local airport even before Africa or Nigeria recorded any case of coronavirus.
PRESS : Is it indeed true that some Cross Riverians are being promised some millions of naira if they claim being COVID-19 positive and would you want to share that text message with us?
COMMISSIONER : Like I said people have walked up to the team, not once not twice, to show us text messages in their phone that says if you accept to be a COVID-19 patient, you will be given 5million, you will be given 1milion and then they come to ask us if that is true and we tell them It’s not true. Of course the text message is this bulk SMS and we don’t know where it’s coming from, we have given it to our team to check the source and the origin of that message. And of course we have been under immense pressure to take samples from anybody just to beef up the numbers. In fact to be honest with you we’ve had to take samples from two persons who reported at UCTH, they did’t meet NCDC criteria but just to ensure that we continue to take samples and send, we had to take samples.
PRESS: Who is putting pressure on you to test anybody so that you can beef up the numbers?
COMMISSIONER: it’s like a 360 thing, at first the NCDC boss said we are not testing enough that is why we are not having positive cases, WHO is calling every day, telling us to go in to the streets and just test anybody and send them to the lab. I keep saying we need to check the criteria; these testing kits are very limited. And if we continue to test just about anybody, we might get to a point that we truly need to test people who meet the criteria and we may not have kits to test them.
PRESS: Some Nigeriens sneaked into Cross River State from Ikom, one in Obudu, one in Calabar and one in another Local Government Area, but they were not isolated, yet the Calabar team of COVID-19 is insisting that the NCDC team deployed to the state to carry out their duties is being quarantined. So what is your reaction to this?
COMMISSIONER: I think what you need to find out is the truth behind it. There have been a lot of scary messages going on in social media, so you sit today and they say there is one person in Ikom who has COVID-19, the person came in from so place, and then you ask, where in Ikom? Ikom is a big Local Government that has almost close to five hundred thousand people, and then you ask where in Ikom, there is no further information, who in Ikom?, there is no information, nothing. The next day you see a new message saying there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in Calabar, you ask, where in Calabar? Nobody knows, who is the person? and what is the contact, nobody knows. And then the next morning you here there is a confirmed case, and so on and on.
PRESS: Alright, so they can’t be substantiated, so to speak?
PRESS: Hon. Commissioner Betta Edu thank you so much for talking to us on COVID19 MYTHS AND FACTS.