By Oswald Agwu
Inadequate medical facilities in Nigeria has been identified as the greatest impediment to the management of the increasingly ravaging COVID-19 cases in the country.
The president, Association of Resident Doctors, Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching hospital, Abakaliki, Dr Philip Osuagwu, made the observation in an interview in Abakaliki on Friday.
Osuagwu who noted that the nation has adequate and qualified manpower to adequately handle the pandemic in the country tasked the government to provide all needed facilities in the hospitals rather than shopping for manpower from elsewhere.
Osuagwu, speaking on the outcome of the online meeting of the Resident doctors in the hospital decried the development in which many doctors in the country have contacted the deadly virus in the cause of their duties, attributing it to inadequate Personal Protective Equipment.
He warned members of the Association never to attend to patients without protection to avoid loosing their lives and endangering those of their families in the process.
He urged the government to urgently make available the complete PPEs and all other health facilities that can help in prompt identification of cases and their effective management in order to better contain the spread of the virus in the country.
According to him, such working facilities as N95 face mask, surgical glasses and face shield for doctors doing surgery; well equipped accident and emergency clinics and internal medicine, among others would help boost the doctors confidence while discharging their duties.
While commending the Ebonyi State government for its efforts to curtail the spread of the virus, Osuagwu further called on the Federal government to increase the convid-19 testing capacity across the country, such that random testing can be done to identify more carriers of the virus.
He further advocated for robust insurance packages for health workers who died while saving lives in the country during this pandemic, even as he charged the Federal government to make the distribution of the palliative to citizens more transparent.
He alleged that politization of the palliatives distribution and hunger in many quarters have contributed to some people defying the lockdown order across the country.
Osuagwu lamented: “Over one hundred doctors had contacted this pandemic in the process of saving life because there is no protective equipment in the Nigeria hospitals and this has caused panic among the health workers.
“We urged the government to look at the efforts of the health workers and provide those things that are necessary to ensure that they are working, and to ensure that while they are working they are not exposed to getting this virus because they also have their families.
“Government should provide the PPEs, that are required to care for patients because it could get to a point people will start being afraid to see patients.
“As the cases keeps increasing, the scare will become more even among the health workers .”So this is something the government should actually look into to see what can be done.
“In AEFUTHA, we don’t have enough PPEs to use, because what is happening now is that patients pay for the mask to be used.
“They will be asked to wait for it to be billed to the patient folder before the health personnel will attend to the patient and by so doing, something might go wrong because it delays patient care.
“The problem in Nigeria is the issue of implementation of certain policies.
“For instance, the issue of lockdown which is to ensure that people do not move around to contact the virus, but because there are no palliatives, the citizens violate the law.
“So I encourage the government to look at those aspect and do something about it because even the palliative they claim to be sharing is being politicised because most people don’t benefit from it .
“So federal government should make it more transparent.”
“Also there is this issue with testing, and I want the government to increase the testing capacity such that random testing can be done, and more people identified, and that will go a long way in solving the problem sooner than expected because without that testing, the virus will continue to spread.”
The medical practitioner maintained that the increasing cases of corona virus was expected.
According to him, it was so because once a case is identified, there are contacts who may over time, come down with the disease symptoms or may be diagnosed as carriers because they in one way or the other interacted with the case.
Like a chain, he said, the infection multiplies as contacts increases from one case to another.