By Agency Report
Doctors Associations have bemoaned the unavailability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers, leaving many of them exposed and testing positive to coronavirus.
Specifically, they threatened to call out their members if stakeholders did not address the issue.
“We are worried, and we are getting to a breaking point. If nothing is done, we cannot continue to let our members remain exposed. If our members continue to get exposed without stakeholders taking the necessary actions to address this, we may have to call our members out, perhaps, the government may consider that as a window to get the situation addressed”.
President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Francis Faduyile, said: “We have been crying this over and over that since doctors and nurses and other healthcare workers are on the frontline, the government must put everything in place to fight against them being infected. The availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should be sin qua non.
“The different hospitals management should ensure we have full brief before the doctors are exposed to patients who may have acquired the COVID-19.
“We have also stated expressly that the government should come out with insurance policy for those in the frontline of the management of patients. These are the things that we expect. We have advised our doctors to observe international best practices always and to ensure that when they need to treat patients who have fever and other signs of COVID-19, it must be done with the appropriate PPE”.
Concerning the provision of medical insurance for frontline workers, Dr. Faduyile said: “Is it after the whole scenario has ended that we will be coming out with medical insurance? What does it take to have medical insurance? We have seen other countries who have the interest of their health personnel, come up with robust health insurance. We have also seen countries who have given good incentives to those who are in the frontline. What stops us from doing that?
“We have been losing doctors and nurses year-in-year-out to Lassa fever and these people are left alone; nobody caters for them; nothing for them. Do we continue to lose our lives and die like chicken? And we have a government that is speaking but not ready to do the necessary things?
“It is not acceptable that in the middle of all these pandemic they’re still talking about finding ways to do medical insurance. What stops them from sitting down in a day or two and put things in place?”
The President of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), Dr. Sokomba Aliyu, said: “We have always advocated to the government and other relevant stakeholders, that we have a gross shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and this inadequate PPE has continued to put our members at risk. It is obvious now that a lot of them have not been adequately protected, that is the reason some of them are getting exposed and some are testing positive for the virus.
“As it stands now, two of our members in Akwa Ibom State have turned positive. We have one in Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital and 3 currently quarantined and awaiting results, 25 in the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, we also have some in the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital.
“All these are evidence to show that our health workers have continued to remain exposed to the viral epidemic in the country. And proofs are all pointing to the fact that we do not have adequate PPE for these Healthcare workers.
“It is surprising to note that even with all the contributions that has come in the name of the donations, we still do not have this PPE. We don’t know what the government intends to do with all the billions, or perhaps the billions were never donated for the purposes we were meant to understand they were donated for.
“As simple as face mask, we do not have in some hospitals; some of our people have to sun dry their face masks to reuse. This is how bad it is”.