The Pharmaceutical society of Nigeria, Cross River State Branch has observed with rising concern the general laxity displayed in the State, especially the Calabar metropolis in keeping to the safety guidelines of the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) as regards the COVID 19 Public health pandemic currently ravaging the entire world.
The dip in the enviable standards of safety procedures (Use of face masks, good hand hygiene and physical/social distancing protocols) previously meticulously followed in the state is highly unfortunate.
This is of critical importance due to the recurring reports of Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy (ACT) non-responsive “Malaria-like” conditions, loss of taste/smell and severe weakness in the Calabar metropolis. Although there are NO confirmed reports of COVID 19 in Cross River State, similar symptoms are reportedly found in areas with incidence of community transmission of the disease.
Hence to limit the risk of infection, we would like to implore the following:-
1) Every resident of the state should maintain the NCDC guidelines as recommended for safety protocols (use of face masks, good hand hygiene, physical/social distancing etc).
2) Members of the public are advised to adhere strictly to safety precautions put in place in community Pharmacy premises and other primary health service providers for Infection and Prevention Control (IPC) protocols which include but not limited to:-
· Screening and triaging of clients before service provision.
· Crowd control and maintenance of recommended NCDC guidelines at service delivery points (use of face mask, hand hygiene, social distancing etc.) prior to accessing care.
We therefore join other health care professionals to call on the State Government with adequate support from NCDC to scale up testing for the COVID 19 disease in the State. This is pertinent because of the gaps in adherence to the NCDC protocols across the country, which has allowed for movement of some individuals across State borders, thus increasing the risk of community transmission. Also, the rising incidence of the disease which has culminated in a total of 19,147 positive cases in the country with the South-South Zone and our border States (Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi & Benue) accounting for 2098 and 338 cases respectively (Data retrieved from COVID19.NCDC.GOV.NG as at 19th June 2020); calls for serious concern and action.
We also wish to commend the State Government for its primordial and primary prevention strategies rolled out from the onset of the COVID19 pandemic to curtail its spread, and to reiterate our commitment to partner with them to safeguard the health of the inhabitants of the State.
God bless Cross River State!!!
Ekpenyong E. Effiong
Echofu Agada (PharmD, FPCPharm.) SECRETARY