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25 UBTH doctors self-isolate as three patients test positive for COVID-19

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Fear has gripped the staff and management of University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) after three patients in the hospital tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the weekend, forcing 25 doctors into self-isolation.

UBTH recorded the first COVID-19 death as the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Friday announced the death of two COVID-19 patients in Edo and Lagos states.

Tension heightened among UBTH workers after two patients who earlier tested negative for the virus were eventually declared positive after further tests.

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Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), UBTH branch, expressed disappointment with the management of the hospital over “poor handling of coronavirus”.

Some of the doctors, who pleaded anonymity, said the hospital was never prepared for the pandemic, faulting the Chief Medical Director (CMD), Prof. Darlington Obaseki, over the poor handling of the pandemic in the facility.

In the same vein, the University of Benin (UNIBEN) has extended the lockdown in the institution.

The Public Relations Officer (PRO), Dr. Benedicta Ehanire, disclosed this yesterday to journalists in Benin City.

“After a careful review of the situation of the country with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic, the institution has extended its shutdown by two weeks. The new date of resumption is April 16, 2020.

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“Please note that staff affected by this directive are to work from home. For the avoidance of doubt, all staff on essential services such as healthcare, security, utilities including water and electricity, as well as fire service, are not affected by this directive, but are to continue to perform their invaluable roles during this period,” she said.

However, the CMD disclosed yesterday that two surviving patients were being cared for in an isolation ward with restricted access in the facility, adding that the hospital would ensure standard precautions at all times to prevent the spread of the disease.

Meanwhile, the Benin National Congress (BNC) has appealed to the Federal Government to ensure that resident doctors are adequately protected as they attend to COVID-19 patients in the country.

The Edo socio-cultural group, in an open letter to the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, canvassed support for doctors and other health workers on duty duties in hospital across the country.

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President of BNC, Aiyamenkhue Edokpolo, and Secretary, Board of Trustees, Orobosa Ojo, also raised concerns over the sanitary condition of facilities at Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH) in Edo State.

According to Edokpolo, it has become expedient to passionately appeal for the improved working conditions for health workers as well as the welfare of doctors at ISTH.

“Our appeal becomes inevitable considering its prime, as a COVID-19 pandemic testing centre for South-South Nigeria, having and still serving as the largest Lassa fever treatment and research centre in southern Nigeria as a whole.

“As a respected and loved son of Edo, we urgently urge you (minister) to act swiftly to save precious lives,” Edokpolo said.

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