The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in Cross River State has been advised to urgently begin the process of training its members on how to guard themselves against contracting COVID-19.

There are 45 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Cross River as of July 30, the second state that is least infected by the novel virus.

Asuquo Simon, a private medical doctor in Calabar, the state capital, gave the advice to the doctors’ association in a statement he issued on Friday.

Mr Simon said the situation in Cross River requires the NMA in the state to equip doctors with the knowledge of COVID-19 protocols and management, instead of the association behaving as an opposition to the Cross River State Government.

“Cross River State started the no mask no movement, since March 2020 and is well known. It is disheartening to know that this is not adhered to by some health workers, worst still some doctors,” Mr Simon said.

“NMA, Cross River Chapter, should begin sensitisation of its members on the compulsory use of face mask at all times.”

Continuing, Mr Simon said, “From one of NMA frequent letters released to the press, it was stated that the Government of Cross River State has trained over 400 health workers on Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) for COVID-19 and some of the persons trained at least 50 were doctors, including the State Chapter Chairman Dr Agam Ayuk.

“Rather than always seek who to blame or spend precious time writing long press releases, this time should have been used to cascade the IPC training down to all the members of your association so the know exactly how to protect themselves and will not have any doctors die from COVID-19 or or infected in Cross River state.

“This would not need to put any financial strain on the resources of NMA as this training can be done virtually.

“It is sad to note that some doctors in public and private hospitals do not use face mask always at their work places. Some do not know the IPC protocols, some do not have access to the SOP for management and referral of suspected cases of COVID-19. These are the types of engagement and sensitisation drive that a committed association should have if the welfare of its people are topmost on its mind.

“Don’t keep quiet, rather take the right action and end the blame game!”

Mr Simon said the NMA chairman’s allegation that “the under-reporting of COVID-19 cases in the state was responsible for doctors contracting the virus” is without proof and illogical.