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Doctors in Cross River Vow to Continue Indefinite Strike

Doctors in Cross River State, on Saturday, expressed their resolve to continue the ongoing indefinite strike until the wife of their colleague, Mrs Christiana Ekanem is released.

The doctors, under the auspices of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) in the state, embarked on an indefinite strike to press for the unconditional release of Ekanem, who was abducted by unknown gunmen on March 10, from her home in Satellite Town, Calabar.

Speaking to newsmen in Calabar, the Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in Cross River State, Dr Agam Ayuk, tasked the state government to be proactive and ensure the release of Ekanem, whose captivity, he said, has caused the family and the Association undue trauma. 

He said: “The Cross River Government has not shown any political will to facilitate the safe release of Mrs Ekanem, neither has the government [upscaled] any measures to curtail the abysmal insecurity situation in the state.”

Reaffirming the association’s commitment to the strike, Dr Ayuk said the “NMA in Cross River will continue her indefinite withdrawal of services until Mrs Ekanem is released safely and unconditionally. Her life and safety are as important as the life of any Coronavirus victim.

“The Association hereby reiterates her call on Gov. Ben Ayade to expedite the safe release of Mrs Ekanem and put measures in place to secure lives and properties in the state as his primary responsibility,” he said.

“The state owes all citizens residing in Cross River equal rights to safety. Unfortunately, the safe release of Mrs Ekanem cannot wait until Covid-19 is contained and we cannot afford to abandon her to fate,” he added.

Addressing the issue of the coronavirus pandemic, Ayuk disclosed that Cross River has not recorded any case of Coronavirus, assuring the commitment and preparedness of doctors in the state to emergency response.

He urged the state government and all stakeholders to ensure effective public health education, reduce public gatherings and design treatments protocols, as measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

“NMA is calling for the upscaling of effective training of health care personnel, especially those in the frontline in both public and private facilities. We are fully committed to ensuring this is realised to prevent abandoned and shabby treatment of victims,” he said.

Dr Ayuk also called on the Cross River State government and the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), to support the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital to adequately build the capacity of the isolation centre to manage critical cases.

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