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NMA: We’ve lost 16 doctors to COVID-19 

…says #EndSARS protests could increase virus surge

Regina Otokpa, Abuja

Out of the 1,031 doctors so far infected with coronavirus in the course of carrying out their duties in the country, no fewer than 16 of them have died trying to save the lives of infected persons.
President, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Prof. Innocent Ujah, made the disclosure on Monday in Abuja, while addressing newsmen on the occasion of the 2020 Physicians’ Week with the theme: ‘Strategy for Health System Recovery During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Nigeria.’
According to him, the deaths and high number of doctors infected by the virus while on active duty, was due to the inadequate protective materials available and accessible to health workers including doctors, in the hospitals.
Represented by the Chairman, NMA Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Chapter, Dr. Enema Amodu, he raised concerns that the number of doctors’ deaths and infections in the country would have been higher, if not for the donations of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) by the various medical associations and some Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs).
He appealed to both federal and state  governments to forestall more deaths by ensuring PPEs were made readily available and accessible to doctors and other health workers in the country.
In his words: “As at 8th October 2020, there were 1,031 doctors who were exposed to the virus in and 321 confirmed cases. Sadly, 16 (mortality rate of 4.98%) of our members were painfully lost in the battle to save the lives of Nigerians.
“If not for other NGOs and medical institutions that went out of their way not to wait for government to deliver, we possibly would have recorded much more than that because we as  professionals even in our own affiliate associations, took it upon ourselves to provide some of these things; face masks hand sanitisers for ourselves, while some other NGOs went round making donations.
“We have engaged the PTF severally and we are still engaging them because of the inadequacy, it is never enough. These are disposable consumables you use and discard so because you supplied last week does not mean we won’t need this week and next week, its a continuum.”
Commenting on the ongoing #EndSARS protests across the country, the NMA boss raised the alarm of an upsurge in the infection rate of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has in the last few weeks declined drastically, due to the breech of COVID-19 guidelines at public gatherings.

 

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