For Immediate Release: 15th March 2020. Statement on Postponement of the 1st-8th April 2020 WACP Fellowship Membership and Primary examinations.
While adhering to general advice on travel, based on the WHO declaration of Covid-19 as a pandemic the College has decided to postpone the April 2020 examinations as it will require travel and close bodily contact by both examiners, candidates, patients and other health and administrative staff.
Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, Cote D`Ivoire, Senegal and Burkina Faso who are the main sources of examiners and candidates have all recorded cases of Covid-19. In addition, persons may have recently returned or had contact from Covid-19 affected areas outside the sub-region.
Travel bans and bans on the congregation of large numbers have been instituted by National Governments and Universities of all Chapters.
Based on our Infectious Diseases committee’s recommendations:
The case for deferment of the exams until the situation is clearer, more certain or resolved should not be dismissed but should be kept in view. This is because:
1. More countries are coming up with travel restrictions;
2. Some persons are asymptomatic carriers and potential transmitters of COVID-19;
3. Some examiners may have to travel from affected countries with travel restrictions;
4. Some countries in the sub-region already have cases, and there is the risk of its spreading owing to the transmission dynamics of the virus;
5. COVID-19 is more severe in the elderly and those above 50 years of age as well as in persons with medical co-morbidities. A significant, if not substantial, number of examiners might belong to these categories.
A critical analysis of the considerations for and against the exams holding as scheduled has been done.
WACP wants to ensure all our doctors are available to help health services to cope with COVID-19 and to minimize any risk, however small, of transmitting the virus to other groups of vulnerable persons (examiners, candidates as well as patients) involved in the examinations.
Where possible, meetings of faculty board and other statutory can continue if these can be delivered by video call or email to keep College activities running.
College with the help of its Infectious diseases committee will be monitoring the situation and give an update on an appropriate date for holding the examinations possibly in June or a combined April/October 2020 exam as was done during the Ebola epidemic.
Let us continue to observe universal infection control measures, handwashing, and active case ascertainment.
Long Live the College!
Yveline Houenou FWACP (President)
Albert Akpalu FWACP (SG)