Coronavirus: DON’T GO NEAR ANY COVID-19 PATIENT WITHOUT PROTECTIVE KITS, NMA INSTRUCTS HEALTH WORKERS; DEMANDS REVIEW OF HAZARD ALLOWANCE

By Patrick Ochei

Dr. Ekeneam N. Omo

The Nigerian Medical Association, NMA Delta State Chapter has called on its members not to go near any Covid-19 patient without putting on their Personal Protective Equipment, PPE, adding that doctors and healthcare workers need to be adequately protected to save lives.

The call was made during a press briefing by the group at their Secretariat in Asaba, Friday 17, April, 2020.

Briefing the press, the State Chairman of NMA, Dr. Ekeneam N. Omo said that doctors and healthcare workers in the State had been mandated not to go near any Covid-19 patient without their protective kits, especially the HAZMAT suit.

Ekeneam underscored the utmost need to protect health workers during the ravaging global pandemic, making reference to the loss of a doctor in Lagos and another in Katsina whose wife was also infected.

He stated that over 25 doctors were currently in isolation centre at UBTH having been infected, stressing that the Association would not close its eyes to allow its members die as a result of inadequate protection.

He however agreed that government was doing a lot but needed to do more, urging it to keep doing more until the war against the Coronavirus pandemic is won.

According to him, “Covid-19 is a novel disease because of the mode of spread. It’s an airwaves disease and that is why everybody must take precautionary measures.

“Covid-19 is not a political scam. You have to obey the ‘stay at home’ instruction, which is not a punishment but a critical sacrifice towards containing the spread of the virus. In addition, you must regularly wash your hands or sanitize them with alcohol based hand sanitizers and then wear a mask”, the Chairman posited.

Moreover, the NMA Chairman called on government to immediately review the hazard allowance, which he said had been a long standing demand even before Covid-19. He said the allowance of N5000 to healthcare workers was meagre and not commensurate with the risk the healthcare workers go through to manage patients, even before Covid-19.

He also demanded for for the institution of compensation package for all doctors and healthcare workers who die or suffer disability from attending to patients suffering from Covid-19 infection, which could be in the form of life and disability insurance.

Other areas of concern to the Medical Practitioners in this Covid-19 period include, the demand for a tax relief for all healthcare workers as a moral booster, special allowances for healthcare workers attending to patients in isolation centres, speedy stimulus package from government to the people and adequate measures to curtail the spread of Covid-19 even after the lockdown.

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