The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) have raised an alarm over the increasing rate of exposure, infection, and fatality to COVID-19 among health workers especially resident doctors in Nigeria.
The national president of the association Okhuaihesuyi Uyilawa disclosed this in Owerri, the Imo State capital at the end of the association’s National Executive Council (NEC) meeting and scientific conference.
Uyilawa said the doctors are therefore demanding a review of their hazard allowance and speedy implementation of the life insurance scheme.
“NEC demands that the current hazard allowance be upwardly reviewed within the next months in order not to encourage our members to continue to work at this critical moment of an increasing number of infection and mortality due to the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic and to maintain industrial harmony in the health sector.
“The NEC resolves that the life insurance scheme for all health workers be speedily implemented and all health workers who have been infected or died as a result of COVID-19 or any other disease infection in the country be compensated,” he said.
The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), has decried the deadly COVID-19 second wave, saying that almost all doctors at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan are infected with the virus.
NARD Vice President, Adejo Arome, disclosed this on Friday during an interview on Channels Television.
“It is so disheartening that the number of health workers being infected with COVID-19 is increasing daily and it seems nothing is being done to reduce this number,” he said.
“Apart from that, almost all the doctors in the University College Hospital (UCH), Paediatric Department are infected. It is like that every day.”
He said the situation has dampened the morale of medical practitioners in the country, noting that most doctors in clinical practice risked being hit with COVID-19.
While calling on the relevant authorities to provide medical workers with Personal Protective Equipment, Aromo noted that most patients expose doctors to the virus by not being truthful about their history.
“Patients don’t come out truthfully to tell us their symptoms. Almost everybody now knows what the symptoms of COVID-19 are.
“They will go to one hospital, the doctors will tell them that this is what is suspected, they will run away and go to another one,” he added.
The NARD chief called on the Federal Government to initiate policies that will ensure that patients who lie to doctors were being prosecuted.
About 20 doctors in Kwara State have become infected with COVID-19 within the past three weeks.
President of the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) of the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH), Dr Badmus Habeeb, disclosed this to Channels Television during a phone interview on Wednesday.
He lamented that members of the association are battling with the pandemic “based on the available resources”.
“About 20 of our members have become infected in the last two to three weeks.
“I must reiterate that this is not the best of times for us, our families and the affected patients,” he said.
Habeeb, however, noted that the discovery of vaccines have brought hope and relief for everyone.
But he lamented that there is a poor resource setting in the country, where the necessities to make the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines easy and possible, are not readily available.
“So, it seems we may never be able to get the vaccine anytime soon,” he said.
The UITH-ARD President said the vaccines have so far proven to be effective and therefore, urged Nigerians to get vaccinated when it arrives, while adhering strictly to other COVID-19 guidelines.
“The public should adhere strictly to the laid down guidelines on the prevention of COVID-19 by NCDC,” he warned.
Two more doctors have died of the coronavirus disease in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) disclosed this in a statement issued on Tuesday.
According to the statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to the FCT Minister, Mr Anthony Ogunleye, the FCTA said a female doctor with the Gwarimpa General hospital, passed on two weeks ago while a private medical doctor died last week.
Following the recent developments, the known number of medical doctors that have succumbed to COVID-19 in the FCT now stands at four since the outbreak of the virus in March.
“Since the first case of COVID-19 was recorded in the FCT on March 27th, 2020, a total of 4 doctors working in both public and private hospitals have regrettably succumbed to the disease,” the statement partly read.
“The latest, being a female doctor from Gwarimpa General hospital, who passed on two weeks ago and a private medical doctor over the last one week.”
The statement was in reaction to a report credited to the Chairman of the FCT chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association, Dr Enema Amodu, that FCTA hospitals were currently rendering skeletal services due to the death of 20 medical doctors from COVID-19.
While making reference to the acting Secretary of the Health and Human Services Secretariat of the FCTA, Dr Mohammed Kawu, Ogunleye said all FCTA hospitals were operating at full capacity, inclusive of emergencies for adults and children, delivery and maternity services, theatre services, laboratory and pharmaceutical services, and hospital kitchens.
“All FCTA hospitals are operating at full capacity inclusive of emergencies for adults and children, delivery and maternity services, theatre services (operating 24 hour services), laboratory and pharmaceutical services, and hospital kitchens. All clinics will resume full services after the Christmas holidays on Tuesday, 29th of December, 2020.
“While there had been incidences where COVID-19 positive patients had infected some medical personnel, these personnel and indeed the patients have been treated and discharged and the affected hospital areas fully decontaminated without any adverse effect on the overall functionality of the hospitals.
“According to records available to the FCTA, since the first case of COVID-19 was recorded in the FCT on March 27th 2020, a total of 4 doctors working in both public and private hospitals have regrettably succumbed to the disease.
“The latest, being a female doctor from Gwarimpa General hospital, who passed on two weeks ago and a private medical doctor over the last one week,” he added.
President Muhammadu Buhari has saluted the sacrifices of the doctors who were killed by COVID-19 in parts of the country.
In a statement on Saturday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, President Buhari gave an assurance that the welfare of doctors and other health workers would be a priority for his administration.
He also sent his condolence to the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) over the death of the doctors due to the pandemic, noting that the sacrifices made by the frontline medical workers were appreciated.
“The death of our frontline health workers in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic is particularly sad because these professionals risk their own lives in order to save others,” the President was quoted as saying.
He added, “Our health workers are making maximum sacrifices for the country in line with their humanitarian calling, and this administration will leave no stone unturned in order to ensure their needs are met.
According to the President, the health workers are operating under severe limitations, but they are undeterred in discharging their duties in saving lives.
“Let me say without any fear of contradiction that no reward is too much for the sacrifices of our health workers in the country, and this administration will give their welfare the priority it deserves,” he stated.
President Buhari also mourned the Galadiman Lokoja, Godwin Ajakpo, as well as the Chairman of Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga, a former military Governor.
His remarks were in reaction to the comments of the NMA Chairman in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Dr Enema Amodu, that no fewer than 20 medical doctors died of COVID-19 in the last one week across the country.
Addressing a press briefing in Abuja on Christmas Day, he noted that the late medical doctors contracted the disease in the course of treating infected patients who failed to disclose their true health status.
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has explained how no fewer than 20 members of the union died of COVID-19 in the last one week.
NMA Chairman in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Dr Enema Amodu, disclosed this to reporters at a briefing on Friday in Abuja.
He noted that the late medical doctors contracted the disease in the course of treating infected patients who failed to disclose their true health status.
Dr Amodu, however, called on patients visiting clinics and hospitals to declare their true health status to avoid exposing doctors and other health workers to the risk of disease infection.
He said, “For those of us in the health sector, we have lost quite a number of colleagues in the last one week alone. Across the country, we have lost not less than 20 doctors in the last one week.”
“We also want to use this opportunity to talk to our patients; as you come to us in the hospitals, in the clinics, please oblige us.
“Wear your mask. Tell us the truth about your past medical condition and don’t hold any information back,” he added.
Second Wave, More Catastrophic
As more doctors and health workers are contracting COVID-19, the NMA FCT chairman appealed to the government to improve supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the medical facilities.
He also called for the provision of essential drugs in the hospitals, saying the doctors were ready to combat the second wave of the virus.
According to Dr Amodu who is an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) surgeon and consultant, it is important for patients coming to hospitals to fully disclose their health status as he once contracted the disease from an infected patient.
“I am the Chairman of NMA, FCT and by the special grace of God, I am standing here today as a survivor because I inadvertently saw a patient that I didn’t know had COVID-19 and she didn’t tell me, and she knew.
“I was exposed, I contacted the virus, I developed symptoms but by the grace of God, my colleagues rallied around me and I survived,” he revealed.
The medical doctor said, “This second wave is so overwhelming; this second wave is more catastrophic, and this probably would be because a lot of people have gone back to the way of doing things.
“They have thought that the virus is over, it has come, and it is gone, and they have let their guards down.”
The Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) in Taraba State have embarked on an indefinite strike action to press home their demands.
ARD President, Ahmed Gabriel, who disclosed this to journalists in Taraba on Friday blamed the decision on the alleged inability of the state government honouring its part of the agreement.
He lamented that medical personnel have been exposed to the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that the total number of resident doctors in the state is not up to 90.
According to him, the doctors are not happy with the inadequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) for the fight against coronavirus, non-implementation of the reversed Hazard Allowance and payment of COVID-19 inducement allowance and non-implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage.
Others were insecurity as they lament the kidnap and killing of their colleagues, non-ensuring of pay parity among doctors and medical internship training.
“Base on the W.H.O standard, the ratio of doctor to patient stands at one doctor to 600 patients, but in Nigeria currently the ratio is one doctor to 6400 patients, while in Taraba state it is one doctor to 33,000 patients and this is grossly inadequate,” he said.
“Currently the number of Doctors who are in Taraba State is actually less than ninety. The Taraba State Specialist hospital created 13 years ago has 19 permanent Doctors and Doctors on contract are 18 in number.
“You cannot build a system or run a viable system with this kind of arrangement and no internship training for medical interns, both nurses and medical laboratory unlike what is experienced in sister states.
“At the moment, there is the issue of COVID-19 pandemic and already the second wave is with us. So far, no medical health worker has been paid and the second wave is with us yet our morale is low.”
While recalling that Taraba has not recorded any fatality since the outbreak of the virus, he attributed the feat to what he described as the resilience of the health workers within the state.
He regretted that the state government has not honoured its agreement by paying the COVID-19 inducement allowance for health care workers.
“Majority of the doctors employed have left the state for greener pasture due to the inability of the state to implement salary scale for Doctors ”
“Majority of the doctors employed are young and there is a high tendency that they will leave and we want the government to look into that quickly.
“Within the state, we have more than 25 health workers that were exposed to COVID-19 pandemic and we demand implementation of the MOU entered into with the government,” he added.
This is coming more three months after the association signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the state government to meet some of its pressing demands.
Sri Lankan doctors performed emergency surgery Thursday to save a pregnant Covid-19 patient, delivering quadruplets who tested negative for the virus, a state-run hospital said.
The 25-year-old woman was rushed into a Caesarean-section surgery to deliver the babies prematurely as her condition deteriorated, the director at the De Soysa maternity hospital, Sagarika Kiriwandeniya, said.
“We had to deliver the babies before full term because the mother was developing complications,” Kiriwandeniya told reporters in Colombo. “The mother and her four babies are in a stable condition but under intensive care,”
The hospital assembled a team of 35 medical staff, including 19 doctors, to perform the procedure on the woman, who was in her 32nd week of pregnancy.
A rapid antigen test showed that the babies — two boys and two girls — do not have Covid-19, Kiriwandeniya said, adding that the multiple births added new challenges because the mother had Covid-related complications.
The babies weighed between 1.1 kilograms (2.42 pounds) and 1.6 kilograms (3.52 pounds).
Virus infections have surged in Sri Lanka since October, when the number of cases increased more than tenfold to 35,387, with 160 deaths.
Doctors in Cross River State have declared an indefinite industrial action over the kidnap of their colleague, Dr Godwin Udo of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital.
The Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in the state, Dr. Innocent Abang, disclosed this on Wednesday during a telephone interview in Calabar.
Abang said that the victim was kidnapped in his residence at Bateba Street on Sunday.
“It is true that Dr. Udo has been kidnapped. In fact, we got to know about it yesterday and we are taking it up from there. His car was left at the point where he was taken away at Bateba Street in Calabar,” he said.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Irene Ugbo, confirmed the kidnap to Channels Television via a telephone interview.
She said: “The police are aware that Doctor Udo has been kidnapped. Modalities are in place to see to his release.”
The Federal Government says it has paid N20 billion as COVID-19 allowance to health workers in the country.
This is according to the Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora who spoke on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Wednesday.
“We’ve been able to disburse close to N20 billion and I repeat close to 20 billion. So, to now say nothing has been done, that is not true,” the minister said.
Dr Mamora explained that the Federal Government had to stop the payment of hazard allowance to the health workers because of renegotiation with them.
“We were able to pay April, May full, June, part of it has been paid but not fully paid and it’s because of the economic situation and these funds have to be sourced for one way or the other,” he added.
According to the Minister, the funds were paid to “Federal health institutions” across the country including Federal Medical Centres (FMCs), teaching hospitals among others.
On the N5,000 hazard allowance for doctors and health workers, the Minister stated that the payment has existed in the country for about 30 years but was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the union, the doctors are downing tools and demanding a pay rise, better welfare, and adequate facilities.
“We have kicked off the strike today,” NARD president Aliyu Sokomba told AFP, adding that medics treating virus cases would join the action this time around.
“There will be no exemptions,” he said.
“We have arrears of 2014, 2015, 2016, salary shortfalls that were supposed to have been paid over six years ago, still pending,” Sokomba added. “These are the issues we have and they appear not to have been addressed up till this day.”
The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has announced that it will embark on an indefinite nationwide strike from Monday.
The National Executive Council of the resident doctors said this was part of its resolutions at a virtual meeting held on Wednesday.
The meeting which was attended by over 200 doctors – NOC, NEC, past presidents, caucus leaders, committee chairmen, and observers, was held to review the 21-day ultimatum issued to government which elapsed on August 17.
The NEC noted that in spite of the inclusion of the residency funding in the revised 2020 budget, the government has not made plans to implement the payment after several promises by stakeholders.
It also noted the failure of the Federal Government to procure group life insurance and death in service benefits for all health workers.
Another observation the council made was that though an agreement has been reached between the government and stakeholders in the health sector to pay COVID-19 inducement allowance for 6 months (April – September), payment was only made for April, May and June in some institutions and the process was, thereafter, abandoned.
“NEC observed the insincerity of the government in determining the revised hazard allowance for all health workers which was supposed to commence in September 2020,” the council said.
“NEC noted nonpayment of the outstanding salary shortfall of 2014, 2015, 2016 under the guise of the so called appeal of the National industrial Court decision that granted the judgment in favor of the payment in the first place by Federal Ministry of health.
“NEC observed the plight of her members in state tertiary hospitals such as the nondomestication and non-implementation of Medical Residency Training Act at the state level, the non-implementation of appropriate salary structure, and the nonpayment of owed salaries.”
They, thereafter, resolved, among other things, to proceed on an indefinite nationwide strike action from 8:00 am on Monday until some conditions are met.
One of the conditions includes the immediate payment of the Medical Residency Training funding to all her members as approved in the revised 2020 budget.
Another condition stated by the NEC, is the provision of genuine group life insurance and death in service benefits for all health workers, as well as, the payment of the outstanding April/May and June COVID-19 inducement allowance to all health workers.
Other conditions to be met include: “Determination of the revised hazard allowance for all health workers as agreed in previous meetings with relevant stakeholders.
“Immediate payment of the salary shortfalls of 2014, 2015 and 2016.
“Doctors working under the various tertiary health institutions to be placed on appropriate salary grade level and universal implementation of the Medical Residency Training Act of 2017 in all State tertiary health institutions.
“Payment of all arrears owed our members in Federal and States tertiary health institutions, arising from the consequential adjustment of the National minimum wage”.
They also appealed to Nigerians to “bear with us during this period of industrial disharmony”, while calling on relevant stakeholders to intervene in the issue to ensure speedy resolution.
The death of a patient at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH) in Kwara State over the alleged switch off of the respirator at the medical facility has continued to generate more controversy.
In separate reactions to the incident, the management of the hospital and the Association of Resident Doctors at the UITH both denied being culpable in the death of the patient.
While the doctors insisted that they were not on strike at the time, adding that they do not have access to the control of electricity supply and equipment.
The Joint Health Workers Union (JOHESU), on its part, admitted that its members were on a warning strike but denied culpability.
JOHESU Chairman at the hospital, Olutunde Olawunmi, stressed that concession was given to the management by allowing its members to ensure the availability of electricity throughout the period of the strike.
He stated that the unions who were not on strike were in charge of patients at the medical facility and not JOHESU.
On his part, the Chairman of UITH Medical Advisory Committee, Louis Odeigha, accused the family of the patient of absconding without being discharged, with bills yet to be settled.
However, an elder brother of the late patient, Sunday Adeboye, claimed that his brother died as a result of the negligence of the health workers at the hospital.
He added that the alleged switching off of the respirator and flogging of the nurses by the striking workers made them evacuate the patient to another hospital where he eventually died.