(L-R) Hon. Minister of State for Health, Sen. Adeleke Mamora; Hon. Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire; Hon Minister of the FCT Malam Muhammad Musa Bello; DG, NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, at the stakeholders’ meeting with healthcare practitioners on the inaccessibility of health care facilities by Nigerians due to COVID-19 held in Abuja recently
The Federal Capital Territory Administration and the Federal Ministry of Health will partner to ensure that no patient is turned away from any public hospital in the FCT for fear of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This was revealed following a stakeholders’ meeting held at the instance of the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello and his Health Ministry counterpart, Dr Osagie Ehanire to address increasing cases of inaccessibility of routine healthcare services in healthcare facilities by members of the public due to uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, decried the trend saying, a situation whereby, the entire system is skewed and geared towards fighting only one, out of hundreds of ailments is a cause for great concern.
According to the FCT Minister, “Sad stories of people being turned away from hospitals with non-COVID related ailments or even denied life-saving first aid treatments for fear of contraction of the virus have come to the fore”, adding that “The increasing number of cases due to community transmission has thrown up the necessity of all our hospitals to become directly involved in this fight, especially with the collection of samples…”
He assured of a continued partnership between the FCTA and the Federal Ministry of Health in the use of the facilities and expertise of both organisations for the improvement of health services in the FCT.
While commending health workers for their efforts in the fight against the pandemic, the Minister expressed the commitment of the FCT Administration towards sustained partnerships to step up public awareness, which, he said, was the key to putting a lid on its spread.
In his comments the Hon. Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, urged the management of public hospitals not to give room for other life-threatening illnesses to thrive and increase mortality. This, he said, would bring about a serious setback if medical services, including emergency services, begin to deteriorate in the wake of COVID 19. He stressed that neglect of any sick person was unethical and not acceptable while assuring that adequate steps were being taken to ensure that patients are not turned away from hospitals to die needlessly,
He further warned that Chief Medical Directors of hospitals would be held accountable personally for the outcome emanating from their hospital, stressing that, “No emergency should be denied attention, even if it means admitting someone on a stretcher or an examination couch, to give them life-saving oxygen, instead of rejecting them and saying you have no bed. You have to do something. The least is to give oxygen”.
The Health Minister also informed the gathering that the Nigerian Airforce has guaranteed the supply of oxygen when needed, urging hospital heads to ensure that patients are attended to with dignity and dispatch saying that in subsequent meetings, medical Directors of Private hospitals will also be briefed on this development.
In his submission, the DG, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu commended the FCT Minister and his team for the long strides taken to curb the spread of the pandemic in the FCT.
Also in attendance at the meeting were, Minister of State for Health, Senator, Adeleke Mamora, Chief of Staff to the FCT Minister, Malam Bashir Mai Borno, the CMD of Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Prof. Sylvanus Okogbenin, CMD National Hospital Abuja, Dr JAF Momoh, the CMD of the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Prof. Bissalah Ekele, the GM of FCTA Hospital Management Board Dr Francis Alu, Medical Directors of FCT public hospitals as well as officials of the Federal Ministry of health.