September 26, 2021

Plateau community seeks apology over leaked Covid-19 result; Govt. starts probe

Gob. Simon Lalong

Officials in Plateau State say they are investigating the leaking of the index Covid-19 test result in the State.

The test result from the National Veterinary Research Institute’s Testing Centre in Vom, South of Jos, the capital of the State, leaked on social media hours before it was officially announced on Thursday.

“This unprofessional act has not only breached ethical medical standards, but also exposed the patient to stigma and discrimination,” said the State Commissioner of Information, Dan Manjang.

Investigations into the case, Mr. Manjang said in a press statement, Saturday, will cover sample collection, analysis and result dissemination to find and punish those responsible.

The “embarrassing and defaming leak of the test result is an abuse of the rights of the patient, says Dogon Karfe, her community of residence.

“As a Community which believes in supporting the Government and all relevant agencies to win the fight against the pandemic of COVID 19, we informed the Task force on Covid-19 on the return of our daughter from Kano where she went to attend a wedding of her relatives.

“The unethical and unprofessional conduct of some officials that leaked the result to public is not acceptable.

“We demand explanation and public apology,” says a press statement issued by Mr. Mohammed Shugaba, the community Youth leader.

“We will not be deterred to constitute legal proceedings in the matter if not addressed properly,” he said.

State Officials, Saturday held a meeting with stakeholders in the community to resolve the negative stereotypes and prejudices caused by the leaked result.

Sources say the meeting ended with a signed agreement for the case to be investigated and tried.

The youth leader of the community had vowed to followup on the execution of the agreements to the end.

Residents in the community have faced social stigmatization since the results leaked, making life “terrible” for the “peaceful and law abiding citizens” in the community.

Government had however raised integrity questions by not relocating the patient from an isolation center to a quarantine center, three days after the confirmation of the case.

The patient’s family and all other first contacts were also not quarantined based standard procedure, questioning the genuineness of the test result.