August 7, 2014 – Nigerian Doctors Rejecting Ebola-Infected Patients Over Short Incubation Period Of Virus In Human Body
Health workers have reacted to the death of the first Ebola virus disease (EVD) victim in the country, expressing fear over what they perceived as an increase in the hazards they face in their practices.
The Chairman, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Lagos State, Dr. Tope Ojo, said a situation where doctors were paid N5,000 monthly allowance for hazard was not only laughable but unbelievable.
“A doctor’s life can be lost in an instance when exposed to fatal illnesses such as Ebola, Lassa Fever or he may be subjected to life-long suffering from HIV or Hepatitis B infection.
“Look at the protective measures that doctors in Liberia and Guinea wear. They are well protected, yet some of them still caught Ebola. Our doctors are worried about the danger it poses to their lives and they need to be reassured. We understand their fears and we are making moves to confirm the level of preparedness of the government for doctors.”
Ojo said nothing would stop doctors in the state from attending to persons suspected to have contracted the Ebola virus.
Another doctor, Babajide Saheed, said some doctors were working closely with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other stakeholders to contain the risk of the infection to others.
Saheed said: “Not all doctors can attend to an Ebola patient. In fact, you must limit the number of health workers treating affected persons just to contain the risk. We will be escalating the situation if doctors rush to Mainland Hospital just to attend to patients.”
Mr. Olufemi Tonade, im mediate past national deputy president, Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), said: “The death of the nurse is quite unfortunate, pathetic and painful. This brings to the fore what we are saying about our government and its health system. It is quite unfortunate that the Nigerian government has not addressed basic needs in the health system.
“As leaders of the people in the health industry, we will not allow the government of Nigeria to deceive anybody that they have equipment. We have concluded that we are not going to sign a death warrant. We believe that if government “Our problem is that we don’t get our priorities right. Ebola is deadly and cannot be politicised. It should be addressed with all fiats by any serious government.”
A nurse working with the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, who did not want her name in print, begged the government to act quickly to save their lives. She said of all health workers, nurses were most prone to contracting Ebola virus.
Also reacting, Dr. Gabriel Omonaiye said it was very shocking that in the course of doing their work, a professional would die. It also showed the risks involved in medical and nursing practice,” she said, urging the government to make the safety dress available to everybody for free.
Describing the death of the nurse as tragic, Mrs. Sussan Jehwo, a matron at Mahkal Hospital, Agboju in Lagos said a lot needed o be done to safeguard the lives of all health workers and Nigerians.
Mrs. Nkechi Uwakwe, also a matron, formerly with the News Agency of Nigeria staff clinic, said the death of the nurse did not come as a shock to her. According to her, this was considering the short incubation period of the virus in human body.
[Sources: NMA, NAN & Daily Sun]