The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has strongly condemned the rush for the registration of National Identification Number (NIM) saying it is contradictory to government policy on COVID-19 protocols, also tasked both the federal and state governments to invest in oxygen plant and subject COVID-19 vaccine to test trial before it is administered on Nigerians.
Speaking with Tribune Online in Jos, the National President of NMA, Professor Innocent Ujah, who said it is contradictory to engage in NIM registration when the nation is battling with the second wave of COVID-19 advised the Federal Government and agency responsible for the exercise to suspend the registration for the main time to avoid further spike of the pandemic.
“This is a contradiction, there’s is no emergency in NIM registration, we should wait until the country overcome this pandemic. There’s no way people will not get COVID-19 from such registration centres because there’s no social distancing, no use of face masks among other stipulated protocols, above all, people are desperate because of the deadline.
“It is a clear contradiction of government policy, what is the urgency in it? Why now that we are having pandemic? It should be suspended, nobody will die if he doesn’t have NIM number,” he said
Professor Ujah called on both the federal and state governments to invest in oxygen plant adding the with a spike of the pandemic in recent time the government needs to have as many oxygen plants as possible to safe the lives of those in need of the oxygen.
“The federal and state governments must work hand in hand to establish oxygen plant. It may interest you to know that Jos University Teaching Hospital is only one that has oxygen plant in Plateau State, Lagos is more proactive with over 10 oxygen plants but that is still not enough, so both the federal and state governments need to invest in this,” he said.
On COVID-19 vaccine, he enjoined the government to validate it because of the difference in biology, genetics and environment adding that there should be documentation of how people will respond to it, it will also help in advocacy and to clear all the misconceptions about the vaccine.
He said: “Already, some are saying there’s a microchip inside. The reality is that anything that would prevent the administration of the vaccine should be tackled so that the confidence of the people are extracted. We have research Institutes that can carry out the validation, this is necessary because the genetic composition is different likewise the environments.
“The most important one is for us to sensitize our people for compliance to the NCDC protocols, that doesn’t cost anything but vaccine cost a lot of money including the supply chain system, all these are very expensive. The government at levels must strictly enforce all the protocols to fight this pandemic.”
Professor Ujah further stated that the National Secretariat of the NMA has directed all the local chapters of the association to compile the list of its members who either survived or die of COVID-19.