By Abujah Racheal
The Minster of Health, State, Sen. Olorunnimbe Mamora, has warned hospitals forcing pregnant women to pay for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), before being attended too, to desist from such act.
Mamora gave the warning while fielding questions from Journalists at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 daily press briefing, on Friday in Abuja.
The minister was speaking on the backdrop of allegations that patients were being asked to bring PPE before treatment in some hospitals across the country.
He described such as unacceptable and condemnable, adding that government would investigate the allegations and mete out appropriate sanctions to those found culpable.
The minister stated that it was illegal for states and federal hospitals to demand for PPE before treating anyone.
“If that happens at all, it is a strange demand and without mincing words, I will say that it is illegal, unacceptable and of course, condemnable.
“I do not expect any treatment centre or hospital to be making such demands from patients.
“Be that as it may, we will definitely seek additional information in this regard to enable us carry out appropriate investigations, and of course take necessary actions in this regard.
“I think it is bad enough for patients to come to the hospital, and you compound the problem by making demands that are not within the ambit of what is expected,” he said.
He added that irrespective of where this was happening, whether it was state institutions or at the federal level, government would definitely seek intervention and do what was appropriate in the circumstance.
Earlier in his address, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said that a 14-member team comprising of multi-sectoral specialists, would leave for Kano on Saturday to support response to the outbreak in the state.
Ehanire explained that the specialists were from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, (NCDC), and National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA).
Others were also drawn from the Infectious Diseases Hospital, Irrua, Edo State, and departments of Hospital Services and Family Health. at the Federal Ministry of Health.
The minister said the primary focus of the intervention was on capacity building of healthcare workforce among various specialties, with a very massive scale on Case Management and Medical Nursing.
On the latest situation report on COVID-19, Ehanire said that 319 Nigerians had been treated and discharged from designated facilities, while 18 laboratories had also now been activated across the country.
According to him, the ministry often receives complaints of patients with other ailments who cannot get medical attention, even in private hospitals, in this time of COVID-19, so it is making efforts to address the issue.
In his address, Mr Boss Mustapha, Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF) and PTF Chairman on COVID-19, said that the intervention in Kano State was producing results as testing had been scaled up in the state.
Mustapha, in comments to commemorate the International Workers Day, said the PTF appreciated Nigerian workers for their tenacity in building the country, and called for their adequate protection to enhance productivity.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that healthcare workers rely on PPE to protect themselves and their patients from being infected, as well as from infecting others.
But shortages of gloves, medical masks, respirators, goggles gowns and aprons, are leaving doctors, nurses and other front-line workers dangerously ill-equipped to care for pregnant women and others patients. (NAN)