Yinka Adeniran, Ibadan
No fewer than 19 doctors are on quarantine in the South West states, the Nigeria Association of Resident Doctors Southwest Caucus has stated.
The Association also decried what it described “increasing reports of information hoarding and denial of symptoms” by patients and their relatives especially as regards their traveling history and other important symptoms of COVID-19 thereby increasing the risk of exposure of doctors to the disease.”
The group spoke in a statement by Dr Sebastine Oiwoh and Dr Taofeek Sanni, Caucus leader and Deputy Caucus leader respectively on Monday.
The Association said it believed that the situation that led to the infection of the doctors who were on duty call was avoidable if the needful had been done by the authorities, patients and relations concerned.
The Southwest NARD also expressed optimism that the unified effort and cooperation that saw the country successfully defeat Ebola Virus Disease epidemic in 2014 will also pay off this time around too.
According to the doctors, what worsened the situation is the continuous inadequate provision of necessary Personal Protective Equipment by Hospital Management.
They noted that while some hospitals don’t readily make the PPE available, others claimed unavailability due to poor funding by the Government to the teaching hospitals in the fight against the scourge.
NARD warned if such act was not quickly addressed, it could threaten the wellbeing of her members who are in the frontline of attending to all forms of patients who present at the hospitals.
The statement reads in part: “The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) Southwest Caucus commends the efforts of our members, other healthcare workers, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the Governments at various levels and the good people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for the indomitable effort and zeal at combating the global surge and pandemic of COVID-19.
“This unified effort and cooperation saw us successfully defeated Ebola Virus Disease epidemic in 2014 and it is our hope and prayer that it shall pay off this time around too.
“The Association is closely monitoring happenings in the country especially our tertiary health institutions in relation to the COVID -19 pandemic spread and management.
“According to NCDC report, out of the total numbers of confirmed cases and deaths in the country as at 12th April, 2020, the region accounts for 67.5 percent of the cases (218 out of 323) and 50 percent of death (5 out of 10). No state in the region is presently spared of the virus.
“We are aware of the increasing reports of information hoarding and denial of symptoms by patients and their relatives especially as regards their traveling history and other important symptoms of COVID-19 thereby increasing the risk of exposure of our members to the disease.
“Worsening the situation is the continuous inadequate provision of necessary Personal Protective Equipment by Hospital Management. With reports that some hospitals don’t readily make these available, others claimed unavailability due to poor funding by the Government to the Teaching Hospitals in the fight against this scourge.
“These acts could further threaten the wellbeing of our members who are in the frontline of attending to all forms of patients who present at the Hospitals.
“The Association noted with concern the increasing numbers of our members who are now in quarantine (currently about 19 members) due to exposure to COVID-19 infection in various tertiary health institutions in this region. This we believe was avoidable if the needful has been done by those authorities, patients and relations concerned.
“We are surprised with the various form of intimidation and harassment of our members in the line of duty by some overzealous law enforcement agents during this lockdown period despite being exempted by the President Federal Republic of Nigeria in line with the need to continue the provision of essential services during the sit at home period especially in Lagos and of recent Osun state.
“Members of the public will continue to need various medical services aside COVID-19 treatment during this period in both public and private hospitals.
“The Association commends and appreciates the efforts of our leaders in various local chapters in ensuring the safety of our members and adequate supply of needed Personal Protective Equipment during this trying period. It is only safe to say our safety and wellbeing is most paramount in the care of our patients as enshrined in our Physician’s pledge.
“The Association is also optimistic of the various efforts being made by NMA and NARD in ensuring the fulfillment of plans by the Governments to increase considerably the present meager monthly five thousand naira hazard allowance being paid our members and all other healthcare workers in the face of various infectious diseases like COVID-19, Lassa fever etc.
“And we must remind us that Lassa fever has killed more people in 2020 than COVID-19 has hence emphasizing the difficult terrain our members have to work daily to keep the society safe.
“The Association shall continue to monitor events as they unfold and shall not hesitate to take the needed necessary action when due.
“We want to reassure our members all over our tertiary health facilities of our commitment to their welfare especially during this turbulent period and we appeal to us all to remain calm even in the presence of these numerous provocations.”