NMA, APC fault Akwa Ibom epidemiologist’s redeployment

NUJ advocates fund to save media industry

NUJ advocates fund to save media industry

The removal of the sate epidemiologist, Dr Aniekeme Uwah, has sparked reactions from different categories of people in Akwa Ibom State.

Uwah was on Friday removed from office and redeployed to the ministry of health for allegedly acting against the wishes of the Health Commissioner, Dr Dominic Ukpong.

It was gathered that Uwah had collected and forwarded about 31 samples for testing against the wishes of the commissioner for health who had preferred that only 10 samples be sent for testing.

Reacting to the removal, the Nigeria Medical Association in the state through its Public Relations Officer, Dr Emmanuel John, accused the Commissioner for Health, Dr Dominic Ukpong, of putting the lives of medical personnel at risk and therefore called for his removal.

In an Inpiration FM live programme monitored in Uyo, the state capital on Saturday, Dr John said, “It’s like the Commissioner for Health does not want the state to be seen as having more positive COVID-19 cases as was the case of HIV.

“The commissioner came up with a policy that anybody who wanted to be tested for COVID-19 must first of all get clearance from the state government which the epidemiologist, Aniekeme Uwah, objected (to).”

Also the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress reacted to the redeployment, saying such move at this time of the fight against COVID-19 would weaken the state’s capacity to fight the pandemic.

In a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Nkereuwem Enyongekere, on Saturday, the party said, “APC is alarmed to hear that Dr Aniekeme Uwah, the state epidemiologist, has been removed from office in a most demeaning manner by the Commissioner for Health, Dr  Dominic Ukpong.

“We understand that Uwah’s offence is that he had collected and forwarded 31 new samples to the NCDC for testing, whereas the commissioner preferred only 10 samples to be collected and sent for testing.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Health, Ukpong has insisted that Dr Uwah was not sacked.

He said, “Dr Uwah was not fired. He was reassigned to another job within the same public health directorate. Reassignment of people is a normal process. There were 15 other people who were reassigned and he was one of them. This is not strange.

“The person assigned to do the job he was doing is a competent and experienced person who has been trained by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.”

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