Nigeria has recorded more deaths from hospitals’ refusal to attend to patients with other illnesses than from COVID-19 virus, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, has said.
Mr Mustapha while speaking at the daily Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 briefing on Thursday said there have been reports of refusal by some medical institutions to treat patients for fear of contracting the COVID-19 virus.
Mr Mustapha, who is also the chairman of the task force, said the action portrayed by these medical institutions is unacceptable.
“The PTF has received rather sadly, reports of continued refusal by medical institutions to receive and treat patients for fear COVID-19.
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“This has resulted in several unfortunate and avoidable fatalities and statistics has shown that there is a drastic drop in the percentage of attention being paid to other ailments not related to COVID-19.
“Truth be told, we are having more deaths from non-attendance to other diseases than even COVID 19,” he said.
Nigeria has recorded 254 deaths from its over 8,000 coronavirus cases as of Thursday afternoon.
Mr Mustapha also said, “Federal tertiary institutions have been mentioned among those rejecting patients for fear of COVID-19.”
The Nigerian government has repeatedly warned medical facilities to stop rejecting patients, especially in emergency cases.
Despite this warning, many people are reported to have lost their lives due to rejection by health workers when seeking medical attention.
Workers at risk
Healthcare workers are at risk of exposure to COVID-19 virus as they are the first responders to patients.
As of April 30, not less than 113 health workers tested positive for COVID-19.
Aliyu Yakubu, a medical doctor aged 60, also died of the virus on April 4.
The fear of contraction of COVID-19 is what has deterred many health workers from attending to patients who have other illnesses, some with similar symptoms as COVID-19.
Mr Mustapha said the ministry of health has directed heads of medical institutions to continue providing regular medical services.
This, he said, will prevent more avoidable deaths in the country.
“The Minister of Health has reached out to all medical directors directing them to continue providing regular medical services so that we do not end up with avoidable deaths.
“The reason for the greater emphasis on COVID-19 is because it is a pandemic and if not curtailed has a capacity of wiping out large segments of our population,” he said.
He urged all government and private-owned health institutions to follow guidelines on dealing with patients presenting COVID-19 like symptoms.
“Of course, the guidelines for dealing with patients presenting COVID-19 like symptoms are available.
”And if these are applied by our medical service providers, there would be lesser risks of exposure to the virus,” he said.