THE Cross Rivers State branch of the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists in Nigeria has alleged that the state government and Lawrence Henshaw Memorial Hospital (LHMH)are manipulating COVID-19 results in the state.
The association made this allegation in an open letter seen by The ICIR which was signed by the Branch Chairman, Ndem Benedict and Secretary, Dennis Ekpo.
The letter was addressed to the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu.
In the open letter, the association said 53 samples were collected between July 6 and 8 by the LHMH and many of the tests came back positive, leading to the state government issuing a directive to stop sample collection.
The scientists stated that it was ‘surprising’ when the NCDC reported only one case on July 14, against the test results.
The association said the reported numbers represent ‘misinformation, gross underreporting and distortion of facts’.
“In our view, such data represents gross underreporting, misinformation and deliberate distortion of facts, which may not only lead to inappropriate response but portends serious health crisis for the inhabitants of the State,” the association wrote.
According to the scientists, the Cross River state commissioner of health, Betta Edu and the LHMH connived to influence the number of cases in the state.
“It is obvious that the State Epidemiology Unit, in connivance with the Commissioner of Health, who doubles as the chairman of the State’s COVID-19 task force, intend to perpetuate the culture of deception hitherto nurtured during the pre-testing era in the State,” the letter further read.
The association, therefore, charged the NCDC and Presidential Task Force to order a forensic audit into the testing kits provided to the LHMH.
“We are therefore requesting the NCDC and Presidential Task Force to perform a forensic audit of test results at the LHMH testing Centre, to ascertain the level of compromise and/or distortion, after all, records and documents can be mutilated or altered but the hard disc drive of the GeneExpert system will give a true picture of results generated at the LHMH Centre,” the letter further read.
As at the time of filing this report, the number of confirmed cases in Cross River State is 29 according to the NCDC.