The Cross River state government has appealed to the federal government to play down on media hype over the coronavirus pandemic, saying other health challenges like malaria, diabetes, high blood pressure “which have now been relegated to the background are killing more Nigerians than Covid-19.”
The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Betta Edu, in a press conference, Friday, said people with other ailments were now afraid of going to hospitals across the country for fear of being tagged Covid-19 positive, aside from the stigma associated with such branding.
She said, “It is sad that the federal government is refusing to support a state which is doing everything to prevent Covid-19, and instead insinuating we are covering things up.
“Our government is glorifying Covid-19 such that everyday people wake up to listen with rapt attention the number of new cases reeled out. We have so magnified this issue such that even health workers are abandoning patients with other health challenge to die.
“People are afraid to even go to hospitals to avoid being tagged Covid-19 positive. Everyone is scared. How many people would we allow to die before Nigeria stop magnifying Covid-19?”
Continuing, she said: “Maternal mortality claims at least 3, 000 lives daily, malaria kills at least 1, 000 daily. High blood pressure, diabetes and other health issues are killing Nigerians in their number, yet we call press conferences on coronavirus as if Covid-19 is a death sentence.
“As a state, Cross River has done its best to prevent Covid-19, and all what we get is pressure and knocks. Maybe, we should withdraw our team from our borders; maybe we should step back and begin to reel out figures in thousands to please some people and to be politically correct.
“Let me use this opportunity to appeal to the federal government of Nigeria, the NCDC and PTF to support prevention. Prevention should be your pride and not your shame. We hereby leave our fate in your hands.”
She said the state was not recording Covid-19 cases because the state government had done sensitisation early and put structures in place before the first recorded case of the disease in the country.
Edu said all identified cases brought forward in the state with samples sent for testing had returned negative so far, and that Governor Ben Ayade was committing the state’s lean resources to ensure that coronavirus case “is not recorded in the state.”