The Federal Government has come out to say that no fewer than 113 health workers are presently infected with the deadly coronavirus disease in Nigeria.
FG used the opportunity to urge everyone in the front lines against the pandemic to adhere to its advisories relating to the management of the outbreak.
According to the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, more experts would be sent to Kano to assist the state to curb the spread of the virus after a recent upsurge in the number of cases.
He added that our doctors should be very careful with how they treat patients because the country cannot afford to lose the service of essential manpower at this time.
His words, “It is very important for healthcare workers to understand that nobody is conscripted, everybody is a volunteer. Those who cannot handle it generally have the option of requesting to be excused and someone else would come in.
“As for the doctors, it is a fable to say over 300 of them are infected. That is not true. There are not so many people in the health sector who are infected. The latest figures we have is that they are about 113 actually and these are not all public health workers. A good number of them are from private hospitals and if you hear us speaking here frequently against trying to treat Coronavirus in private clinics, we are actually referring to people who do so without having necessary precautions or training because they risk infecting themselves and they go home and give this infection to their family and that is not the right thing. So, the healthcare workers who have no training, have no business actually handling Coronavirus. As for those who do not have equipment, we have said that we provided equipment and PPE for all those who are out there. There are one or two places where we have heard that there is a tightness with supply and we are trying to send them over.
“I once again call on health workers to stringently follow laid down standard infection, prevention and control measures at all times and not to take risks. We cannot afford to lose the service of essential manpower at this time; every client should be treated with a high index of suspicion for COVID-19, but treat every client with fairness so that persons suffering from other ailments do not suffer neglect or treatment refusal. It is not ethical to turn clients away without, at least a medical advice, neither should a person in distress be refused care in emergency situation. The advisory on case management is accessible online”.
“I shall, as usual, ask citizens to adhere to advisories: stay home and do not travel anywhere, because there is no call for everyone to return to their villages. Wear a mask or face covering if you must go out of your house and make sure to wash it every evening. Wash your hands regularly and practice respiratory hygiene. Remember social distancing, avoid crowds and inform those around you of these advisories”, Ehanire stated.
On Kano, “As community transmission emerges, the Federal Ministry of Health has brought in manpower capacity from National Primary Health Care Development Agency to strengthen and integrate risk communication with the planned training of primary healthcare workers and also community mobilizers to identify new cases and drive demand for COVID-19 testing, while continuing to maintain normal outpatient service. This ensures that health services provision does not suffer at the primary health care level, but also that health workforce remains safe. NPHCDA will anchor community engagement and mobilisation for COVID-19.
“The Ministerial Task Team sent on a fact-finding mission to Kano has sent an interim report, which provided information on the needs, strengths and weaknesses of the Kano response system. While I await a full report, this will guide the Federal Ministry of Health FMoH in supporting Kano State COVID-19 Task force with necessary material, training and human resources. They will include assembling and dispatching a technical team from FMoH and viral Infectious disease specialists from Irrua Specialist hospital to join a technical team from Lagos Ministry of Health that is already on ground in Kano at the request of H.E. the Governor of Kano State. There will, therefore, be a good pool of very experienced hands-on experts to support the leading role of Kano State in the response.
“An emergency medical team from FHoH has left Abuja with Ambulances, five of which were kindly donated by FRSC, on their way to Kano to provide emergency response in view of movement restrictions arising from the lockdown”.