By Davies Iheamnachor – Port Harcourt
The Rivers State branch of the Nigerian Medical Association has decried a lack of Personal Protective Equipment, PPE, for doctors in frontline duty in the fight against COVID-19 in the state.
NMA also disclosed that 22 of its members and 60 other health workers have tested positive to the virus in the state, calling for an urgently upward review of the hazard allowance paid to doctors working for the state government.
The chairperson of NMA in the state, Dr. Obelebra Adsbiyi, spoke in Port Harcourt, on Friday, while addressing the press on the challenges faced by health workers in the state.
Adebiyi lamented that despite the efforts of the government in containing the community spread of the virus that the state was still recording a high number of cases on a daily basis.
She regretted that health workers in the state were made to provide PPEs for themselves, calling for more funding of the health sector of the state.
Adebiyi said: “The number of cases in Rivers state moved from zero, in less than 8 weeks, to about 450 confirmed cases with 21 deaths. This is really a worrisome situation.
“More worrisome to us is the rising cases of infection among health workers. Currently, 22 doctors and over 60 health workers have been confirmed positive and are receiving treatment across different isolation centers in the state.
“The state has also recorded the death of a health worker through coronavirus. This clearly calls for more action from the government, the heads of government and private health facilities in the state, and indeed the general public.”
Adebiyi noted that health workers in public hospitals are made to provide PPEs for themselves, adding that the development has worsened the infection of health workers.
She said: “Health workers in public hospitals are left to provide personal protective equipment for themselves. The government must provide PPEs for all health workers in public and private hospitals.
“When health workers are unprotected, the risk for infection rises significantly and our collective effort to fight the pandemic is greatly hampered. This is another issue that must be urgently addressed if we will make progress in our fight against Covid-19.”