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Nigeria warns health workers not to treat coronavirus patients privately

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The minister of health, Osagie Ehanire, has warned health workers against privately treating patients suspected to be infected with the COVID-19 virus.

Ehanire, while speaking at the Presidential Task Force briefing on Friday, said all cases of the disease should be referred to healthcare facilities for safe isolation and management.

”All medical practitioners, health care workers and also the public are reminded that Covid-19 is such a highly infectious disease and they should abstain from trying to privately treat or manage these cases in their homes.

“Only designated treatment centre can provide safe isolation and management of Covid-19 patients,” the minister said.

Healthcare workers are highly exposed to COVID-19 virus as they are first responders to patients.

On April 4, Aliyu Yakubu, a medical doctor aged 60, died at the Nigeria Air Force Reference Hospital, Daura, Katsina State, after contracting the deadly virus. Aweek later, his wife and children tested positive for COVID-19.

Due to their vulnerability to this disease, health workers are been advised to take extra precautions in handling suspected cases.

Mr Ehanire said all designated isolation centres have adequate supplies to manage cases of the disease.

“All designated isolation and treatment centres have adequate supplies to manage cases and there is no shortage of Personal Protective Equipment and no fear of shortage in the short term for health workers,” he said.

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria has been on the increase.

As of 9:30 p.m. on Friday, the NCDC announced a total of 305 cases of which 55 people have been discharged and seven deaths recorded.

However, Mr Ehanire explained that though there is a limited supply of consumables in the market, health workers have priority in rationing of commodities because they are more at risk.

He said the government is developing in-country manufacturing capacity to ensure the availability of necessary consumables.

“It must be noted that there is a limited supply of consumables in the market due to increased global demand and increased production to a public health crisis.

“We are, however, developing in country manufacturing capacity. Citizens should use limited supply of this equipment judiciously.

“Health workers have priority in rationing of these commodities because they are more at risk,” he said.

The minister urges private practitioners to play their role by educating the public and protecting the frontline workers.

He, however, said all private facilities must be accredited by the federal government before commencing treatments of Covid-19 patients.

“Private practitioners have a big role in educating the public and protecting patients and frontline workers and by having a high index of suspicious to identify, advise and refer suspected cases to designated management facilities for testing.

“Private facilities must apply to the federal ministry of health for accreditation before engaging in treatment of patients,” he said.

He said private practitioners also share in the responsibility to maintain essential and emerging service at all times and ensure the safe transfer of suspected cases of COVID-19 by dialling the toll- free emergency number.

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