Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Lives of public health are increasingly being threatened over increase in community transmission of dreaded Coronavirus in Nigeria.
Investigations revealed that they were increasingly testing positive for COVID-19 which they contracted while attending to patients who knowingly or otherwise are positive for the virus.
Among those who have contracted the virus in the line of duty is a frontline medical doctor at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Dr. Adedayo Williams.
The doctor, who is the President of ARD, UCH, Ibadan, is believed to had contracted the virus while attending to a patient who had the virus and was unaware.
National President, Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria (ARD), Dr. Aliyu Sokomba, has expresed worries.
“Just yesterday (Sunday), Dr. Adedayo, called to inform me that he has tested positive for the virus and it was confirmed that he contracted the virus in the course of treating a patient for an ailment, not COVID-19, but had the virus.”
Dr. Sokomba also made reference to a several cases at different health facilities where many frontline health care workers including nurses and doctors have contracted the disease due to absence or poor use of Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs).
He expressed concern that more frontline health workers would contract the virus unknowingly from patients, some of who are unaware they have the virus.
He thus suggested a compulsory COVID-19 test for all patients that visit health care facilities. In addition to that, adequate PPEs should be provided for health care workers.
President, National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Adeniji Abdulrafiu, disclosed that no fewer than five nurses have tested positive for COVID-19 which they contracted while attending to patients.
“We have a chaotic situation at General Hospital in Igando, Lagos, where several nurses went into isolation after they unknowingly treated a COVID-19 patient. Three of them have tested positive for the virus and more result are still expected. Few days ago, we lost a senior nurse at Maiduguri who died of COVID-19.
“Nurses and other health workers are daily being exposed to high risk of contracting the virus by patients some of who are unaware or otherwise that they are positive for COVID-19. However, we have set a situation room to monitor that situation and protect our people. We have also encouraged them to take all precautionary measures to protect themselves because every patient is a ‘suspect’ until proven otherwise.”
He accused the Federal Government of not evenly distributing the available PPEs to all health workers, but pushing them to isolation centres and other areas of interest.
But President, Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) FCT Chapter, Dr. Roland Aigbovo, said they have not recorded any case in Abuja, possibly because they offer limited medical services at FCT Administration-owned hospitals.
“Because we scaled down medical services at FCT Administration owned hospitals, medical doctors and health workers take time to examine few patients that visit the hospitals. In addition to that, health workers in FCT have been trained and adequately enlightened on how best to handle any medical issue irrespective of the ailments. They take time to thoroughly check the medical history of patients before attending to them.”
The President, Commonwealth Medical Association (CMA), Dr. Osahon Enabulele, blamed the government for the escalation of the virus in Nigeria beyond what it ought to be.
“Many state governments failed to follow the suggestions by medical professionals. Many of them were skeptical to take drastic decisions to contain the spread of COVlD-l9 in Nigeria, particularly as it concern lockdown order. Even now, some choose to adopt partial lockdown of their state while didn’t do at all for whatever reason.”
Howbeit, he cautioned all medical workers to strictly use their PPEs whenever they are attending to any patient, particularly out-patient, who has no medical record with the hospital.