The Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) has called for the establishment of more testing centres in the country to quickly identify cases and carriers of the Coronavirus in the country.
President of NIPR, Mallam Mukhtar Sirajo, made the call in a statement issued on Friday in Abuja.
He urged the government to assist the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in establishing more testing centres to build on the successes recorded in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
“The NIPR believes that the relatively low figures of those that have so far tested positive for the COVID-19 gives cause for optimism that the pandemic will be contained shortly.
“We must, however, not rest on our oars as the figures may not be telling the full story; the devil is in the number of people so far tested.
“The government should therefore intensify efforts at providing more testing facilities and distributing same across the nooks and crannies of the country, to avoid the potential of people being infected without knowing,” Sirajo said.
He noted that the success recorded in the country so far in containing the pandemic would have been greater had some critical stakeholders like the NIPR and Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) worked with the Presidential Task Force.
Sirajo also noted that the disagreement between the NMA and the Federal Government over the coming of Chinese medical experts to the country would have been avoided if all hands were on deck.
“The medical dimension of the COVID-19 is no doubt the spindle around which the wheel revolves, but the pandemic is also a crisis of monumental proportions.
“Taking a strategic stakeholder like the NMA into confidence through regular consultations would have enriched the initiative and provided professional expertise to accommodate the peculiarities of our reality.
“Strategic crisis communication is, therefore, also important as handling the situation requires not only public enlightenment but also the crafting of appropriate messages for it.
“Networking with other stakeholders as well as analysis of pros and cons of measures to be taken as they affect segments of the society is also important.
“With the WHO commendation of Nigeria’s effective efforts at curbing the pandemic, what our doctors needed, among others, was some encouragement and a boost at this crucial time.
“Our reputation as a nation, as a people as well as our territorial integrity is at stake; we must therefore guard against mortgaging it for anything,” Sirajo said.
He assured that the NIPR would continue to support the initiatives of both the federal and state governments as well as other concerned organisations involved in providing genuine sustainable solutions.