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Our lives in danger, Nigerian doctors cry out

NMA says 40 health workers contracted virus from patients who lied about symptoms. Urges FG to supply protective equipment to hospitals The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) on Friday raised the alarm over the danger posed to the lives of their members by patients who conceal the symptoms of coronavirus in them.

The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, had said during the media briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja on Thursday that no fewer than 40 health workers in the country had tested positive for coronavirus.

The minister urged health workers to be vigilant and use their personal protective equipment (PPE) to guard against infections. But speaking in Abuja yesterday, the President of the NMA, Dr. Francis Faduyile, said that none of the more than 40 doctors and other healthcare workers who have tested positive to the virus or died contracted the disease at isolation or treatment centres.

Rather, he said, the health workers, including deceased three doctors and a nurse, contracted the virus in general public and private health facilities while treating patients without access to personal protective equipment.

This very disturbing and unsettling development comes against the unfolding scenario as reported in the media that some VIPs in the society are refusing to report to and be admitted at isolation and treatment centres for treatment (and) rather prefer to stay at other non-accredited facilities.

“The association perceives that by continued refusal to adhere to instructions, some citizens have vowed to make healthcare workers very vulnerable to contracting the disease.

“NMA wishes to reiterate that none of the infected healthcare workers or those that died contracted the disease at an isolation and treatment centre but in general public and private health facilities while treating patients many of whom refused to disclose important medical/travel information that would have increased suspicion and facilitate early diagnosis of COVID-19 infection.

“NMA therefore appeals once again to government to expedite action on distributing PPEs to public and private hospitals without delay.

“We also remind our members all over the federation to consider everybody presented at the hospital for any ailment as potential COVID-19 patient until proved otherwise. Our lives also matter!”

As the world grapples with the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, experts have warned that malaria infection is increasingly responsible for Nigerians dying from the pandemic and vice-versa, since about 97 per cent of the population is at risk of the mosquito-borne infection.

They are worried that the focus on the containment of COVID-19 has led to neglect of the control of other important diseases, especially malaria, which may lead to the loss of the gains made over the years, saying disruptions to insecticide-treated net campaigns and lack of access to anti-malaria medicines could lead to a doubling in the number of malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa this year, compared to 2018.This is just as the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), lamented the refusal of some VIPs in the society to report to and be admitted at isolation and treatment centres for treatment, but would rather prefer to stay at other non-accredited facilities, thereby making healthcare workers very vulnerable to contracting the disease.

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