Doctor contracts coronavirus in Edo as government suspends revenue collection for April
President of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), Dr. Aliyu Sokomba, yesterday confirmed that a medical professional treating COVID-19 patients at the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH) in Edo State had contracted the disease.
In a live programme monitored in Benin City, he added that six doctors had also died of Lassa fever.
His words: “At the moment, as health workers continue to play their part in containing the spread of the disease (coronavirus), they are not protected. One of our colleagues died just yesterday (Wednesday) from Lassa fever. This is the state of our healthcare institutions and that is the fate of most healthcare workers in the country.
“Dr. Philip Dzuana is the sixth doctor to have died of Lassa fever in the country, and very little is being done to getting this kind of situation under control.
“Just yesterday (Wednesday) again, one of our doctors in ISTH, Irrua tested positive for the COVID-19 disease. What that means is that these doctors that are testing positive for various diseases are being left alone to take care of themselves.
“There is no form of life insurance for them. There is no form of compensation. To say the least, what these doctors benefit at the end of every month as hazard allowance is N50000. So, we are worried that if the victory over COVID-19 and Lassa fever outbreaks in the country is to be achieved, the welfare and wellbeing of doctors and other health workers, who are in the frontline, must be secured.”
In a related development, the state government has suspended revenue collection from transporters for the month of April to cushion the economic effects of the scourge on residents.
In a statement yesterday, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Osarodion Ogie, said the move would enable transporters to comply with the social distancing directive geared at preventing the spread of the epidemic.
He urged residents not to panic but support the Governor Godwin Obaseki administration in its bid to address the crisis at hand.
Besides, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) as donated medical items, including personal protective equipment (PPE), to the Edo government to check the spread of the ailment in the state.
Worth millions of naira, the goods were handed over to the deputy governor and chairman of the state’s COVID-19 Response Committee, Philip Shaibu.
The supplies include 166 cartons of hand sanitisers, 83 cartons of hand wash, 100 sets of PPE and five cartons of facemasks.
Others are 50 packs (5,000 of hand gloves) and 300 tubes of disinfectant wipes, among others.
The Manager, Community Relations of the company, Dahiru Abubakar, said the donation was part of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) subsidiary’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) obligations to its host communities.
He added: “Management thought it wise to make available items to compliment the state government’s efforts in curbing the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
“This is the first phase of the intervention in the journey to ensure that COVID-19 is eliminated in the state and the nation at large.
“Aside from this presentation, we are making here today, we are going to extend this donation to all states where NPDC operates.”
Responding, the deputy governor called for similar gestures from other public-spirited organisations and well-meaning Nigerians to combat the pandemic.