The Secretary to the Government of the Federation and chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Control of COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, said Thursday that more people are dying from other sicknesses than the trending Coronavirus in the country.
Speaking at the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force in Abuja, the SGF said hospitals and medical facilities don’t treat patients with other underlining ailments because of the fear of the COVID-19.
He said medical practitioners were at liberty to admit and treat all manner of patients, provided they adhere to the guidelines and protocols released by the Presidential Task Force.
“The PTF has received rather sadly, reports of continued refusal by medical institutions to receive and treat patients for fear COVID-19. This has resulted in several unfortunate and avoidable fatalities and statistics has shown that there is a drastic drop in the percentage of attention being paid to other ailments not related to COVID-19.
“This situation is made worse by the fact that federal tertiary institutions have been mentioned among those rejecting patients for fear of COVID. This is not acceptable. We are saddened by this development.
“The Minister of Health has reached out at to all Medical Directors directing them to continue providing regular medical services so that we do not end up with avoidable deaths.
Truth be told, we are having more deaths from non-attendance to other diseases than even COVID-19.
“The reason for the greater emphasis on COVID-19 is because it is a pandemic and if not curtailed, has a capacity of wiping out large segments of our population.
“The PTF also urge all the Chief Medical Directors and private health service providers to attend to other health challenges, which continue to confront our people on a daily basis. Of course, the guidelines for dealing with patients presenting COVID-19-like symptoms are available and if these are applied by our medical service providers, there would be lesser risks of exposure to the virus.
“Within the next seventy-two hours, the PTF will conclude its assessment on the impact of the measures put in place and further recommendations would be submitted to the President for a decision.
“While we take necessary steps, the PTF would continue to appeal to Nigerians on the need to take this fight with utmost diligence. It is for self, it is for your family and it is for the whole community. On our part, we are sparing no effort at coordinating the National response, collaborating with all necessary stakeholders and supporting sub-national entities in their individual state responses, which we always maintain, should be in synergy with the National Response.
“This advisory is based on the fact that the battle is long term and the cure is still in the distant future, nearest being towards the end of 2021. We continue to urge our citizens to follow these advisories diligently,” he said.
He said there won’t be any meaningful remedy for the Coronavirus until 2021, stressing that the fears of most health professionals are linked to the high rate of infections, particularly among doctors, nurses and other auxiliary workers.
He said the Presidential Task Force has expanded the scope of collaboration and experience sharing to the ECOWAS region in line with the role of President Muhammadu Buhari as the ECOWAS COVID-19 Champion.
“This interface through the West Africa Health Organisation (WAHO), will be deepened as part of the short, medium and long-term objectives for controlling the pandemic. The essence of this regional effort is underscored by the huge population of Nigeria and the trade activities across the borders,” he said.