The President of the Nigerian Medical Association, Professor Innocent Ujah, says social distancing has failed in the country, thereby, urging the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to develop new strategies to curb the spread of the virus.
The NMA president spoke on Monday on a television programme in Abuja monitored by The PUNCH.
Ujah said there was the need for the PTF, which has the mandate of the President to coordinate the country’s response to the pandemic, to improve on its research arm to enable it to understand why Nigerians disregard some of its protocols.
He said, “The issue of compliance with the NCDC (Nigeria Centre for Disease Control) protocols – the use of face masks, hand sanitisers, and social distancing – is a very big challenge. The issue of social distancing has failed in Nigeria. It is not likely to succeed and therefore we need another strategy, other ways we can improve the compliance to the NCDC protocol.
“Yes, by and large, many people now use face masks but unfortunately when you go to villages and markets, none of the protocols are practiced at all. Maybe the airlines and a few others like the churches obey these protocols.”
He added, “I have always talked about the research angle of the PTF. We need to find out, we don’t need to speculate, we should have gone to town and gotten a quick response and analyse the data to know why people are not complying, and then we will navigate to see how they will comply.”
Ujah tasked all stakeholders on the need to work assiduously to curb the spread of the virus, especially as the country battles a second wave of the pandemic while seeking to prevent a new strain of the virus from the United Kingdom.
“The doctors are ever committed to this cause and we charge them not to relent despite the harsh environment.
“The reality is that Covid-19 is with us and we need to up our game. The Nigerian stakeholders, the Nigerian people and the National Orientation Agency must also improve its own sensitisation and communication channels because we really are in trouble if we do not at very quickly,” he stated.