A doctor at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital has asked the Nigerian Government to provide them with Personal Protective Equipment in order to help carry out their job of attending to patients, who visit the facility daily.
According to the doctor, who asked not to be named, healthcare workers were daily being exposed to Coronavirus as a result of the lack of PPE despite the huge financial donations the country had received to make such items available.
Last month, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the immediate release of N10bn to the Lagos State Government and another N5m intervention fund to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.
Dozens of individuals and institutions in the country also donated several billions of naira to support government’s fight against Coronavirus.
But despite the huge financial inflow, the doctor disclosed that medical practitioners at LUTH and indeed all over the country lacked access to PPE.
He said, “We’re not getting the Personal Protective Equipment to work with.
“We cannot understand why this is so despite the huge donations that have come in. Are they waiting for us to start dropping dead?
“Even doctors and nurses not working on Coronavirus patients need PPE too. We have emergencies all the time, and anyone of them could have the virus without showing symptoms.
“We know that patients who come to government hospitals are mostly low-income earners; so we can’t burden them with the cost of PPE. To be honest, the CMD of LUTH is doing his best, but what he has isn’t just going round.
“Even before COVID-19, most patients would come in around 2:00am without money for treatment. Many times, doctors would write special letters accompanied by their ID numbers for the required things to be given to the patients just so the surgeries can hold. We’ve been functioning like that; it’s not easy.
“Half of the time, we contribute money to buy things to help patients out. And then, in a time like this, when the risk to everybody is gross because if one person gets it many will, we’re now asking these poor patients to buy PPE before we can treat them. This is what is happening in all government hospitals in Nigeria.
“These things are expensive, so as the doctor, am left scrambling around the whole place looking for PPE to buy or borrow.
“Our surgeries are usually emergencies, which means there isn’t the luxury of time to find PPE. We feel like we’re left on our own.
“Why can’t the government provide all these things? With all the money that have come in, can they please give us PPE to work with?
“Pregnant women are at risk of contracting the virus, for example, but we can’t stop attending to them. We have to treat them.
“Right now, we feel really violated. This is the time that government needs to stand up and help us, the healthcare workers, to ensure that we don’t get infected.”
On March 24, medical supplies donated to African nations by Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group, arrived Lagos.
He donated 20,000 test kits, 100,000 masks and 1,000 medical use protective suits and face shields to Nigeria.
On April 16, the United Nations delivered a fresh batch of medical supplies to Nigeria to aid the Coronavirus fight.
The items included 10,000 test kits, 15 oxygen concentrators, various PPE and other vital supplies.
Despite these donations, medical workers across Nigeria have continued to cry out over the lack of protective gears to safeguard their lives while attending to patients.