The Convener of YesWeFit Movement and former Presidential Aspirant, Dr Thomas-Wilson Ikubese has blamed the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for the current spread of the Coronavirus all over Nigeria. Speaking at a workshop for the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN) held at the Ondo state secretariat of the Nigerian Medical Association over the weekend, Ikubese who is the Medical Director of Sckye hospitals ltd Akure accused the NCDC of being responsible for the spread of the lethal virus through what he described as “their policy of unnecessary secrecy regarding the results of individuals, in the name of confidentiality.”
According to Ikubese, in a threatening pandemic such as this, the question of confidentiality should be relegated in comparison to the health and security of the larger populace. He stated that when the identities of those who tested positive to Covid-19 are hidden, it becomes difficult for their contacts to voluntarily walk up for testing as they may be ignorant of their having been so exposed. In his words, “there’s no stigma in testing positive for Covid-19, when one can again test negative after a few days, unlike HIV that one remains positive perpetually”.
To further buttress his point, Dr Ikubese made reference to a message forwarded by Dr Adedayo Williams, the current President of Association of Resident Doctors, University College Hospital Ibadan to his friends and colleagues today. The message reads thus; “Good afternoon, dear colleagues and friends. Having been on the field caring for others, I thought it wise to subject myself to a voluntary screening for COVID-19. The result turned out to be positive on Saturday (18-04-2020) evening. I presently do not have any symptom and I am currently on self isolation, awaiting a repeat test.
I implore everyone I have had contact with recently to immediately go on self isolation pending the time they will be tested. Those concerned should also properly inform their Heads of Department. I strongly advise every healthcare worker to always take precautionary measures as COVID-19 is real and spreads fast, even though some persons infected are asymptomatic. Please stay safe always. Thank you.” Ikubese stated that if Dr Adedayo had not made this revelation and had treated it as “confidential,” many contacts would have proceeded to spread the virus unknowingly.
According to Ikubese, the Prime Minister of UK, Boris Johnson tested positive and it was announced. Governors in Nigeria tested positive and it was announced, ditto for the Chief of Staff who unfortunately succumbed to the virus. He therefore wondered why the results of other citizens should be kept confidential if those of these prominent citizens can be made public. In his words, “Covid-19 is a raging pandemic that has nothing to do with promiscuity or morbid irresponsibility on the part of one who tests positive, for which stigmatisation should arise.”
He therefore urged the NCDC to review its confidentiality policy urgently so that many more persons will not become carriers and transmitters unknowingly. Ikubese also urged the Federal and State governments to make Personal Protective Equipments (PPE) available to every public and private health institutions so as to protect health workers, as many patients now tend to hoard information about their travel and contact history. So far, 542 persons have been confirmed as having tested positive for Covid-19 in Nigeria, of which 166 have been successfully treated and discharged, while 19 infected persons have died so far.