Below is the full interview by the Public Relations Officer of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Ekem Emmanuel John. In this interview, the group’s spokesperson alleged that the Commissioner for Health is playing politics with the lives of Akwa Ibom people, amongst other issues he raised against the political head of the Ministry of Health. Excerpts is here produced by TheMail Newspaper.
Why was Dr. Aniekeme Uwah sacked as State Epidemiologist?
Well, what I know, because I was there that night, he (Dr. Uwah) had an instruction from the Commissioner for Health to take only 10 samples. 10 of out several people who had come. He had instruction to take only 10 samples from out of many people who had already been called to come and get their samples collected. And Dr. Uwah asked the commissioner why? And I want Akwa Ibom people to judge. The Commissioner told Dr. Uwah Cross River has no case. What I am telling you, any doctor who has been around the commissioner in the past 3 weeks can attest that he uses this statement regularly. He said “Cross River has no case because they are not testing”. So they fall into what Dr. Chikwe (NCDC DG) was saying yesterday. “Nassarawa has no case; that’s because they are not testing. That is how we tested and tested and tested and became number one in HIV/AIDS. And Doctor Uwah would not have that. He told the Commissioner it was not professional. What is wrong if we have more numbers in any health condition? Is it not better for our people to know their status, get help and be treated? Is it not the responsibility of government to help these people to know their health status? What would you rather prefer? I have tried to see what the government would gain by putting the numbers down?
Aniekeme Uwah insisted that all those who have met the case definition for suspected cases would be tested. There are people who have shown clear symptoms. Some of them are doctors. And those people have started contacting lawyers because they have tried accessing testing but they have not been tested because of the policies that the commissioner brings about. The commissioner insists that anybody who wants to be tested must be cleared by government structure. It does not work that way. Medical practice receives the guidance of government policy but it is not on clinical decisions. Testing is a clinical decision and no doctor should have a recourse to a political mastermind before he takes a clinical decision. The young man (Uwah) simply insisted that he was just going to do his job. I guess he had become fed up with what was going on. We have enough test kits to take samples. He (Uwah) still has enough test kits to test further but they (government) said don’t test. But he went ahead to test. And the next day, he was fired for insubordination. This is clearly unacceptable.
No state is going to receive funds for not having so many cases. Instead, the government would get money for having a lot of cases. International partners do not take their money to where there are no challenges. There is no such thing as aggressive testing going on in the state.
How much test has the state done? The last time we heard it was 53.
I can tell you that the tests done by the state has gone beyond 53 but it has not gone beyond 90. There is a lot of pretense going on and it sucks my marrow. I don’t understand what is going on. In this state, the NMA in collaboration with other health professionals, took time to go round, made an assessment of our state of preparedness, came up with a communique advising how better we could be prepared. And I want everyone to cast their minds back to history. The Commissioner for Health went about telling lies that NMA was asking him for the money of COVID-19. And I would address that issue later. With all of the integrity that the Commissioner for Health talks about, he has never mentioned how much he has received for the fight against Covid-19. He hasn’t mentioned it to anybody. No ministry staff, maybe perhaps his accountant and Permanent Secretary which I’m not sure of. But from the Directorate level to the cleaner in the ministry, nobody knows how much the government has released for the fight against Covid-19. The commissioner owes the public that explanation. Those lies were peddled, there was a reaction and there was a truce after a peace meeting. And one of the things the Governor put forward to us in that meeting was that the covid-19 period is not a good time to insist that the Commissioner for Health must leave. We understood and soft-pedaled on that. And I want to ask the public this question. To every person who has conscience, if Covid-19 period is not a good time for the Commissioner for Health to leave, if covid-19 is not a good time for the health workers to insist that they stand by their vote of no confidence on the commissioner, is it then a good time for the Commissioner for Health to insist that he has a vote-of-no-confidence on a state epidemiologist whose profile clearly towers above his (Ukpong’s) own? This is a state epidemiologist who is a CDC-trained epidemiologist. The Centre for Disease Control in America sponsors the NFELTPs (Nigerian Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programs). There are many doctors in Akwa Ibom who have applied for that program and they were not taken. He was one of the pioneers from this state. The other person who left with him for the program, after the program left his job with the state Ministry of Health. And he is getting more than 6 times what any doctor in the state gets in the Ministry of health. He is in Abuja. This man (Uwah) came back to this state patriotically and built up our epidemiology unit. He was the man in-charge of Lassa-Fever which we recorded successes. In Ebola, he set up the structures. We didn’t have a case of Ebola here. But everything was in place, put together by himself and the immediate past Commissioner for Health, Dr. EmemAbasi Bassey. And this man (Uwah) was imported from Akwa Ibom to Rivers State to lead the epidemiological team when Rivers recorded the case of Ebola. Since Covid-19 started, for the Commissioner for Health, it is has been “One-Week-One-Trouble” (if you remember that novel). It has been one-week-one-misstep. The other day, I had to come here (radio station) to his rescue. I had to tell people that he made a genuine mistake because I knew it was a genuine mistake. People called me from all over the world, telling me he (Commissioner) has given me bribe. And I didn’t care because I am a man of my conscience. If the Commissioner did something that is right, and in the process made a genuine mistake, I would defend him. He did not know about it. We did not talk about it and I have not told him that I was in the studio to defend him. I knew he did the right thing but made an honest mistake in his job. A professional must be objective. But you see this one? He is high-handed. He is given to vendetta. He is vindictive. He has poor inter-personal relationship with people.
When government rejected the results that confirmed that 5 persons in Akwa Ibom have contracted the virus, he said that healthcare professionals in the state rejected the result. He turned the lie of government on the head of healthcare professionals. NMA did not reject the result. I am in touch with the PSN (Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria) Chairman, they did not. NANNM (National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives) chairman is a big brother, they did not. The Medical Lab Scientists chairlady is my friend, and they did not (reject the results). Except the Healthcare professionals who rejected the results is the Commissioner for Health.
The NMA met with the Governor. Why didn’t you bring this up?
This happened after the meeting. We were very clear in our communique. Every doctor in this state knows that the Commissioner for Health has poor human relations. We made it clear to His Excellency (the Governor).
…(presenter cuts in) that is not fair
I don’t understand what you mean by it is not fair. It is not fair when you are speaking a fact? Or when you are lying? What is fairness? You are an investigative journalist. When I say these things, take a pen, note them down and carry out your investigations. Pick your phone and call between 10-30 doctors. And then make a percentage of those who would say he has a good human relations. Take your interviews off camera. Even in his ministry, he would not be said to have good human relations with anybody. I don’t know why Government has decided to patch and tolerate this. Their call is not our call. Our call is to put things in perspective.
There is only one reason Dr. Uwah was removed. And that is for doing his job. Which is to assess if someone has met the case definition for sample collection. What cannot be denied is that the instruction was that don’t take more than 10 samples. What cannot be denied is that if he did that, he would have been in violation of his oath as a doctor because 31 persons were qualified for their samples to be taken and they had already been invited.
How do you reconcile that with state’s resolve to test more people?
What I can tell you is that the Commissioner for Health who is the political leader of the Ministry of Health is not sincere. What he is saying and doing is not in tandem with what you have reported that the governor and SSG said. I can tell you that it is merely a week since the SSG made his broadcast on aggressive testing. No such thing has happened. I don’t even know the meaning of that. They have not defined what that policy means. It is not happening. Ogun State is doing Drive-by testing. What the commissioner keeps saying is that we should not do so much testing so that we don’t have much figures. I am speaking both as Ekem Emmanuel John and as NMA PRO because these are things he has said not once, not twice and I have heard it myself. Let me also say here, it is unfortunate. Go through this country. Let anybody who knows the governor beg him to listen because we need to tell him the truth. It is only in Akwa Ibom State that the Commissioner for Health is the Incident Manager for Covid-19 against the advice of WHO. When you see the Commissioner for Health, ask him when WHO came, if they did not tell him that he cannot be the Commissioner for Health and be the Incident Manager for this response? Ask him if this is not the first thing that the NCDC frowned at when they arrived. At the Federal level, the Incident Manager is Doctor Aliyu. It is not the Minister for Health. A politician cannot be the head of a technical team. It is only in Akwa Ibom that this is happening. When I speak to the public, I owe the public the duty of conscience. I do not say things that are unverifiable. I do not tell lies.
Before we move on, you are harping on him being Incident Manager….
(cuts in) No, no, no. I am harping on disservice to the lives of the people of Akwa Ibom to suppress testing. It is unacceptable to the medical profession.
What if there is a reason beyond that for the sack of Doctor Aniekeme Uwah? Because there are allegations that the governor called him but he either refused picking the governor’s calls or he actually hung up on the governor
It is not true. The governor is a man of integrity. He is a Christian. When you ask him, he would not tell you that he called Doctor Uwah and he hung up. I can show you the chat. Those chats were created in a whatsapp group created by Mr. Essien Ndueso and Mr. Aniekeme Finbarr who are SAs to the governor. They recruit boys who are in that group. Those people churn out allegations as soon as you point out anything that is not right. When I pointed out the fact that we were not prepared and Ikot Ekpene was not ready. They said the facility was world class. Please, ask the Commissioner for Health, has he admitted his first case in Ikot Ekpene (ISH). Ask him when they sent a standby generator to Ikot Ekpene isolation centre if not two days after I spoke on air. If it was that ready, why did they not admit the index case there? The truth is, we thank God that there are still people of integrity in government. There are things that I cannot say here but even the governor knows that the Commissioner for Health is feeding him lies. Because he (Governor) is now directing some things through other channels and if those channels did not exist, if everything was left for the Commissioner for Health, Akwa Ibom State would have been in a deep mess. The allegations against Dr. Uwah is not true. There are SAs in government who are unhappy with the fact that anybody that says anything against the government this team of E-boys led by Finbarr and Essien Ndueso will send them to attack them. There are things I should not say on air. I have evidence. I want to say here that these things cannot continue to be a recurring decimal. One of the reasons why people like us supported the governor was because we saw him as urbane, we saw him as a complete gentleman, his mien depicts that of a child of God who truly conducts himself in a way that shows he fears God. Aniekeme Uwah hung up on the governor? That is lie from the pit of hell. And I pity these young men who go to any extent to destroy a person, a fellow young man’s character and career just because they are going to get N5,000 for data. It is a shame that we breed this kind of army in this state. This is one of the things that must stop. We don’t care when they do what they do but it must not come to the health sector.
The Commissioner for Health should have been the one to be sacked not Aniekeme Uwah for suppressing the number of testing in the state. We are rewarding bad behavior and punishing good behavior. Is that the mantra we want to propagate in this state?
Testing doctors would be beneficial to the healthcare response because if they are negative they are given all clear, they return to work and can even join the volunteer team.
With this wrangling, should we be worried for those who have other ailments and need doctors to treat them?
The wranglings are not because of Covid-19. It is because of the poor administrative capacity that has been shown by the Commissioner. It is not Covid-19 per se. It is the issues surround covid-19. If these issues came up when we were battling Ebola, we would still have this response.
How did other members of the committee (IMC) respond to the sack of Aniekeme Uwah?
I am not speaking for the IMC. Anytime you see me here I am speaking for the NMA. I am just a member of the IMC and I try very much to limit my discussions. I don’t discuss the internal workings of the IMC. But on a personal note, those I interacted with, we are all sad. Yesterday was a very moody day for a lot of persons. Not for Aniekeme Uwah per se. But because they realized that they too would face the same intimidation if they were to speak up.
How do we achieve increased testing?
This is where I expected the Commissioner for Health to be at the forefront. We expected him to have done a letter to the NCDC saying that we are not doing enough testing, instead it is the NMA that is doing that. We need to get the NCDC to send us more test kits. But the ones we have here we have not exhausted them. 150 test kits. And the NCDC cannot send you more test kits when you are not using what they have sent you and other states are in need of these same kits.
There is this belief that people are not showing symptoms.
That is not true. The 31 persons showed symptoms. If 31 persons had symptoms and you had more than enough test kits, what is the clinical logic behind wanting to test only 10? And the allegations, because I know one of the things they would run here to come and say is that the NCDC Director General said that they should test only 10. It is not true. We heard that yesterday and got in touch with him (NCDC DG). How can he be on TV saying we are not doing enough testing and at the same time limiting testing?
What would have been the effect if only 10 samples were taken as directed by the Commissioner for Health? What would have happened to the other 21? They would have gone back to the society?
They would have gone home. When the commissioner said stop at 10, he didn’t say check in the remaining 21 into a hotel till we are able to test them. We are not saying they are negative or positive. We are saying we needed to be sure so we can fully release them into the society. Also, so that those nurses and doctors who were tested, if they are negative they can then return to work.
Under his leadership, this Commissioner for Health has transferred 3 Permanent Secretaries and he has done that within 5 years. When we say he does not have good inter-personal relationship, people say, oh you are just talking. I want to appeal to His Excellency the Governor. His Excellency knows that the NMA is in love with him. Governor Udom Emmanuel knows that the Nigerian Medical Association has a love affair with him. However, his Commissioner for Health has clearly continued to mislead the health sector in this state and we are saying if it has become true that someone as critical as Aniekeme Uwah can be changed as State Epidemiologist at a time like this, simply for doing his job, then why are we keeping the commissioner for not doing his job?
There is so much emphasis on the commissioner
(cuts in)…because that is the problem of the Ministry of Health. The entire Medical Lab Scientists cannot be wrong. The entire medical doctors in Akwa Ibom cannot be wrong. The entire pharmacists in Akwa Ibom cannot be wrong. Ask even his fellow commissioners, they know his temperament.
Dr. Ekem John, we have to preach hope
Part of preaching hope is saying the truth and salvaging a bad situation.
What is the way forward?
The NMA is going to come up with a response. But I can tell you off my head. This is me now talking as Dr. Emmanuel John, the first thing to do in this state is to drop the Commissioner for Health. He has bungled this response. There is nothing to show for his 5 years of service.
How do you think we can actually have a situation where Covid-19 is battled here in Akwa Ibom without much of these controversies? I know the doctors want the Commissioner for Health to be put aside
There are very many public expectations and most of them are not in sync with reality. It makes the work of government handlers difficult. I just finished listening to the voice of the Commissioner for Information, Sir Charles Udoh. He must have a very difficult task at this moment. The task of having to come every single time to defend the missteps of the Commissioner for Health. It is not easy for him and I sympathize with him. But clearly whether he calls it sack or redeployment, the position is that Dr. Aniekeme Uwah was removed as the State Epidemiologist for taking samples above the number the Commissioner for Health wanted. And the commissioner had no clinical reason for limiting testing to taking of just samples to 10. And once the reason is not clinical and does have anything to do with politics, every doctor must divorce himself from such an arrangement. And we are saying that, what has now happened as a consequence and it is purely victimization and intimidation. Why do we call it intimidation? Because the next person who is going to be posted to that position would now begin to fret, cower and shiver before the Commissioner for Health. As you are going in, you are going in with a psychology that this man has changed many permanent secretaries. You are going with the psychology that the reason you came into that office was because somebody insisted on doing the right thing. And you will be afraid of sticking to your grounds. And we are saying that where that kind of culture is allowed to breed, it erodes professionalism, it erodes sound clinical judgment and therefore it is unacceptable to us as medical practitioners. We are not asking for too much. We are asking that the government must allow the doctors do their work according to their conscience and when that is done, nobody should be punished. The second thing I want to say here is, clearly, if it starts from the time we had the first 5 cases of Covid-19 uptill this point, and even from the preparatory steps, we agree that the commissioner has shown incompetence in handling the covid-19 response. Even the members of the hierarchy of government know this, even if they don’t want to publicly admit it. I am a part of the response, so in fairness to government they have committed huge resources into the fight against Covid-19. However, what the government has been left to handle every week is either the Commissioner for Health did this, or the Commissioner for Health did not do this. And I am saying that the government of Akwa Ibom State does not need that in this fight against Covid-19. And I do not know why it is that they have refused to take decisive actions on this. Thirdly, there is a clear culture of victimization in the Ministry of Health. Our members constantly complain to us that they are not able to voice out their professional concerns because when they do, they are victimized. There is a case of a young doctor who spoke up in a meeting and the very next day he was posted to Eastern Obolo from Ikot Ekpene. It is the prerogative of the Civil Service to do its postings but every now and then, when these postings come as a result of something that happened 24 hours earlier, then you cannot continue to say that it is a coincidence. Then, when we talk of lack of accountability, I keep reiterating that there is an Incident Management Committee and I know the Governor meets with the Commissioner for Health regularly to receive briefings. I am begging anybody in government who is listening to this, who has the governor’s phone number to text him and tell him when you see your Commissioner for Health tonight, ask him did you tell the Incident Management Committee how much has been released for this response? We know as NMA because we have our sources. There are many actors in Government that are sympathetic to what we are saying and they give us real-time firsthand information. We have documents. That is why when I say these things, they would come and abuse my great-grand-mother but they would not contradict the facts that I’m saying. We have documents, we have people who have come to us to say this is what has been released. I am saying that is there lack of accountability and transparency and poor inter-personal relationship by Commissioner for Health. I am giving out facts.
(Presenter reads out whatsApp message from a certain Dr. Okonko)
We don’t have Doctor Okonko in our register. We don’t want faceless people sending government concocted messages. I am the PRO of the association. I and the Secretary of NMA are in custody of the database, and if you know my brain, it remembers a lot. There is no Okonko in our register. We are not quarreling with Aniekeme (Uwah’s) transfer. We are quarrelling over the reason behind his transfer. We are quarrelling about the hypocrisy of the Commissioner for Health. Tell the fake Dr. Okonko to tell me if the Commissioner for Health is the only doctor qualified to be Commissioner for Health. Since there are many other qualified epidemiologists. If you want to go by that his warped logic, why is the commissioner still in office? Tell him that next time he wants to send a message, he should put his real names and titles. He is not on the register of the NMA. He is not a medical doctor. We don’t know him.
When someone is victimized and transferred for choosing to act professionally, if as NMA and as Akwa Ibom people we do not rise up to stand and speak up against it and protect that person, what it means is that the replacement that is coming, once she is told to take two samples, even if there are justifications to take 20, the person would just insist on taking two to the detriment of the health and wellbeing of our people.
They had already established that they don’t want to sack any critical person involved in this fight against Covid-19. They should have simply waited. After Covid-19 is gone, they could go ahead and transfer him (Uwah) to where they want. I can tell you for free that what has happened is organized intimidation and preference of political consideration over professionalism. Why is the Commissioner for Health the Incident Manager? He imposed himself as the Incident Manager.
What are the duties of an incident manager?
They are in-charge of the entire response?
But he is the commissioner
No, but he is the political lead. Go and check every other person. It is a technical person that leads. What he has done by making himself the Incident Manager is that no other person has the opportunity to talk to the governor about these technical matters. And clearly, he keeps misleading the governor. It is in this state that the Commissioner for Health rejected the NCDC result and 3-4 hours after the governor accepted the result. There is a mis-coordination and I do not understand how many more times he would be taking these missteps before he is removed. Because for every single action and mistake he makes, the lives of our people are at stake.
When you passed a vote-of-no-confidence on the Commissioner for Health, the governor called for a meeting. At this point, have you tried to reach out to the governor to know what his stand is?
We have reached out to the SSG. We have reached out to several commissioners in the cabinet. People we know have access to him and I am sure before they made that announcement (about Dr. Uwah’s redeployment), it is clear to him our position. Uwah was sacked for performing his professional duties. That man is under oath that for every of his singular decision, it must be in the best interest of the people. Let me tell Akwa Ibom people, the easiest thing for Dr. Aniekeme Uwah to have done is to agree with his commissioner to take 10 samples and he would still be the State Epidemiologist.
The NMA is meeting this evening and this is going to be my contribution when I eventually get to that meeting. Number one, we must lift our suspension of the vote-of-no-confidence on the commissioner because he has handled covid-19 incompetently and he must leave. The government must allow the healthcare workers to be professional in their response and there must not be any political interference on technical matters. The response must be shown to be transparent and accountable as led by the Ministry of Health. There must be increased testing. Let me tell why doctors are worried. 45.5% of all confirmed cases in Akwa Ibom are all medical professionals. The implication is that nearly one in every two persons who has tested positive for Covid-19 is a medical personnel. Why we intend to fight this medical war is to save the populace from being infected. We have a situation where the leader who should provide political leadership is sabotaging efforts and putting our doctors at risk and somebody thinks we should not be alarmed. Somebody thinks we should not talk about it? Who are those who have been infected? Medical professionals. The easy thing to do is to play ball with the commissioner, agree to everything he says and be a good boy. It is actually the easy thing to do but that would be shooting ourselves on the foot.
You are saying out of the 11 confirmed cases so far, 45.5% are medical professionals?
Either doctors, or lab scientists or nurses. There is even a pharmacist. The entire four professions across board have had victims of Covid-19.
I don’t know the staff strength of medical professionals that we have in Akwa Ibom but if the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 increases in the state, those we are supposed to run to are affected who will remain to treat us? Are we going to bring in medical professionals from other states?
You are assuming that other states won’t have need for their medical experts. Medical professionals are the most exposed. When the call from the Health Commissioner came to Dr. Uwah to not test more than 10, Dr. Uwah had already tested 19. And the 20th person that was about to be tested when this call came in is a very senior medical doctor. An Associate Professor of Medicine. I’m going to call his name because he is a man of truth and I’m sure you can reach out to him. He is my teacher. If he is not happy I will apologize to him. His name is Doctor Udeme Ekrikpo. He is a very senior nephrologist, very senior researcher and is already exposed and self-isolating. He is unable to come back to work. If he is tested and it comes back negative, he returns to work and we use his expertise, what is wrong with that? The people who were left to be tested were doctors from the Association of Resident Doctors and Consultants from one of our affiliates, the medical and dental consultants association of Nigeria. I can tell you that Dr. Uwah saved this state an embarrassment because if those people were refused testing and they left, it would have been embarrassing. What the government doesn’t know is that the ARD already had a petition and they had submitted that petition to the parent body – NMA complaining that their members have been refused testing. We had said that they are qualified for testing but that it may not be Covid-19. So, since they already met the qualifications, let’s test them. If we test them, they can go back to work. As I speak to you, the staff strength in the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital is grossly depleted because a lot of them are in self isolation and departments cannot run. So, if these people are tested (especially those who have met the criteria) and it turns out negative, then we can quickly tell the CMD (of UUTH) that he can recall these people to work because they are negative. It gives confidence to the doctors who are working to continue to interact with their colleagues of theirs. So by all standards, testing is beneficial to the state, to the healthcare givers, to the people of the state. Don’t forget, by this time, women are still being delivered of babies, people are still dying of malaria, people are still dying of tuberculosis. So, beyond the fight against Covid-19, we must also continue to fight the other illnesses and diseases and when we have more people in self-isolation because we have not tested them and they are medical workers, when we have more nurses in self-isolation and we have only one Teaching Hospital in this state and then we have more nurses in that hospital going into self-isolation because they are unable to access testing, then you are depriving the state of having the ability to care for people with other illness. Are you saying that the man with ruptured appendicitis should not receive care which is an emergency? Are you saying a woman with ectopic pregnancy should not receive care?
Why is the government not buying PPEs or do we have enough in stock?
If you go to some hospitals healthcare workers are now using cloth masks. Don’t be deceived, that thing offers no protection. But that is what some of our healthcare workers are now using because they do not have enough. It’s at best a fashion statement. It has nothing to do with protection. It can never protect you from the virus or bacteria. It can even lead to more infections by giving a false sense of protection. It is the duty of government to provide PPEs but however, my call has been consistent that in the face of an outbreak, to be fair, the government cannot do it alone because nobody saw Covid-19 coming. And by the time it came, it met us like a Tsunami. The government had some supplies. I am also aware they have made some purchases but it is certainly not going to be enough and that is why I will keep on reiterating my gratitude to Hensek Construction for coming through for medical personnel this period by providing PPEs. I will keep on reiterating my gratitude to Ini Ememobong Foundation for supporting the healthcare workers by supplying PPEs. I will keep on reiterating my gratitude to Inoyo Toro Foundation for coming through to donate a medical lab to Akwa Ibom people. I will keep on reiterating my gratitude to the Concerned Akwa Ibom Professionals in Lagos who gave us a large consignment of PPEs that we’ve distributed across 42 General Hospitals in the state. However, the number of PPEs we have distributed are grossly inadequate. So, we are calling for more people to donate and calling again on the Concerned Akwa Ibom Professionals to remember that they had promised another consignment of PPEs. We are calling on public spirited individuals, the 3 senators, members of the House of Representatives, to come through for healthcare workers this period. In terms of procurement, people should ask questions how procurement is being done. Let the commissioner tell us what is going on. If he is sticking to civil service rules. The things I say are things I am saying as a matter of fact. Nobody knows how much this government has released to the Ministry of Health. And yet we are talking about transparency. There is an Incident Management Committee and I represent NMA in that committee. That’s where all of this decision should be taken. And not once has it been said. We are passing this information to the government.
Is it possible that after this information that they might remove you from the IMC?
If they remove me, they have removed the NMA.
And what would that mean?
Of course, there would be implications. It would be the government saying we are not working with the NMA on this. Let me tell you, we are a professional body. We will be fine. I don’t know what the NMA would do. I cannot preempt the NMA. I speak only as authorized by the NMA. So if I sit here and tell you what the NMA would do, then I am telling you my own personal opinion.
So far, the NCDC has rated the Akwa Ibom State Government high in the area of Contact-tracing
That is only a segment of the response. And let me tell you. Who was in-charge of surveillance contact tracing? The removed State Epidemiologist and his deputy. So the rating of 99% is a clear testament of the capacity and capability of Dr. Aniekeme Uwah. Do we have any of such rating for the Commissioner for Health?