An Akwa Ibom based Epidemologist was sacked by the Akwa Ibom State government according to a report by PREMIUM TIMES. Aniekeme Uwah’s sack comes under mysterious and highly controversial circumstances.
The job of the epidemiologist who is a medical professional is focused mainly on the study and containment of disease outbreak, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, Ebola, SARS etc. all within a population.
Mr Uwah, who was the chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) (Akwa Ibom state branch), the highest Medial professional body.
He was at the forefront of the fight against the spread of coronavirus in the statewas leading the fight against the spread of the coronavirus in the state before his sudden unexpected sack on Friday.
With regards to his profession, he was among the African doctors honoured in 2019 by the African Union for their contributions to the fight against the deadly Ebola virus in Liberia. Hence, he is highly experienced in handling pandemics and other related health issues.
There are 11 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Akwa Ibom State as of April 25.
The unexpected news of Mr Uwah’s sack was first revealed online before it was confirmed by the state’s government through the Commissioner for Health, Dominic Ukpong, who issued a statement issued around 9 p.m. on Saturday.
Purported Reason For His Removal
His removal has been greeted with mixed feelings by most people in Akwa Ibom who were were still confused as to why he was sacked. However, the spokesperson of the NMA in the state, Emmanuel John, went on a live radio interview with Inspiration FM Uyo on Saturday morning to say what he knew.
“As at when the commissioner for health called Dr Aniekeme Uwah not to test more than 10 persons, Dr Uwah had already tested 19 persons,”
“The 20th person waiting to be tested when the call came was a senior doctor, a nephrologist who had been exposed to COVID-19 and is self-isolating at the moment.
“What Dr Uwah did by testing 31 persons who met the case definition saved this state grand embarrassment if the people waiting to be tested were turned back for no clinical reason, and also saved the society from community infection, should they turn positive.”
He said about 84 persons have been tested for the coronavirus in Akwa Ibom State so far.
Mr John continued by saying,
“Before a doctor, every patient is equal. Why would you test one and leave the other? It is a bad medical practice, it is a bad public health practice.
“Some state governments who are doing this, they are banking on the fact that these symptoms can be self-limiting for some people with strong immunity. We understand what they are thinking, ‘Oh, if we do not test, the person may have the symptoms and then the person may recover on his own and then it is not recorded for us’.
“I want to say here, at the end of COVID-19, no state governor is going to receive a fund for not having so many cases. If there is anything, a government will get money for having a lot of cases. International partners do not take their money to where there are no challenges.”
So far, the state government has not responded on these issues leading to more questions and controversy.
The health commissioner, Mr Ukpong was scheduled to be at the same radio station for a live interview by 12 noon to react to the allegations made by the NMA spokesperson. But he declined.
The Honorable Commissioner for Information in Akwa Ibom state, Charles Udoh, announced the one appointment of Ntiense Umoette as the new epidemiologist for the state.
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