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COVID-19: Nigerian doctors kick against exposure of personnel

*As CUPP, others, reject Chinese doctors

The rising cases of doctors and medical personnel getting infected due the unavailability of the necessary tools to prevent health workers from contracting the deadly Coronavirus has set the National Association of Resident Doctors, NARD and the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA on tension-mode as 33 doctors recently went into self-isolation to determine their status after inadvertently coming into contact with patients of COVID-19.

The doctors work with University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) (25), University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH) (06) and Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) (02).

The president of the National Association of Resident Doctors, Dr Sukomba Aliyu who made this known said two doctors in Akwa Ibom and one in Edo state have tested positive to the virus, while three others are in quarantine.

The NARD is threatening to call the doctors out from duty if the development continues, while it blames the development on lack of necessary equipment.

In the same vein, the NMA has lamented that it would no longer condone the continuous exposure of its members to unnecessary hazard.

The list of exposure forcing doctors to self-isolate across the nation, includes: 25 medial doctors from the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, UBTH.

NARD said 13 of them are house officers, while 12 are resident doctors.

The association expressed displeasure with the hospital’s management over what it described as poor handling of coronavirus in the hospital.

According to the association, many of the health workers complained of a lack of personal protective equipment, such as face masks and hand sanitizers.

In Lagos, The Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, said it placed three of its health workers on isolation after their contact with a patient who died of COVID-19.

LASUTH Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC) Chairman Dr Ibrahim Mustafa revealed that two doctors and a nurse had contact with the patient, who later died on April 3 at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba.

Following the death of a COVID-19 patient, six doctors have been quarantined by the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH).

About 19 other health workers have also gone into isolation.

Outside the country, a Nigerian doctor Alfa Sa’adu died last week in the United Kingdom of coronavirus. The 68-year-old worked with Prince Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust.

Another Nigerian Bassey Offiong – a student with Western Michigan University in the U.S.A died of the virus a few weeks to his graduation.

Meanwhile, the Spokesman of the Coalition of United Political Parties, Ikenna Ugochinyere has berated moves by the federal government to bring in Chinese doctors to fight the Coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria.

Ugochinyere who said the move is an expression of the loss of confidence for doctors working on the domestic front, accused the Buhari-led government of abandoning the nation’s health workers who have risked their lives daily despite the huge constraints and inadequacies they have been facing.

“Rather than import Chinese doctors into the country, the government could have shown support to the Nigerian doctors by providing adequate and sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) for them to ensure they are safe while doing their job,” CUPP stated.

The coalition also carpets the federal government for its failure to consult the Nigeria Medical and Dental Council, in line with the provisions of the law, before embarking on the move to invite Chinese doctors.

“We stand with the Nigerian Medical Association that has rejected this move, and indeed all Nigerians should reject the move now,” CUPP declared.

The coalition further observed that the arrival of Chinese doctors in Italy coincided with the spike in the number of cases and death rate in that country, and wondered whether it was a mere coincidence.

“But since the spike, what have these Chinese doctors done to improve situations in Italy with the thousands of deaths that have occurred since then? 

“Are the Chinese doctors going to come to help us ramp up our recovery rate which is very high at the moment or are they coming to know why we are not dying like chickens like it is happening in the United States, Spain, Italy, France etc? What will be their true mission?” it wonders.  

Warning that the action of the federal government could turn out to be counter-productive, the CUPP warns that the invitation of the Chinese doctors is a distraction from the good work Nigerians health professionals are doing to contain the pandemic.

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