‘Hospitals shouldn’t turn back patients with other ailments’

By Frank Ikpefan, Abuja

The COVID-19 Presidential Task Force on Monday called on government and private hospitals not to neglect treating patients with other illnesses to avoid preventable deaths.

PTF said it had received reports on medical facilities and doctors who returned sick patients for fear of Covid-19-related illnesses.

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The Federation Government Secretary and PTF President Chief Mustapha told reporters at the daily briefing that the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, was meeting with the management of the country's tertiary health institutions to address the issue.

He said: “PTF has also received reports on medical facilities and doctors who return sick patients for fear that their illnesses are related to COVID-19. PTF calls on these facilities, especially public hospitals, not to neglect the treatment of other diseases, because such actions have resulted in avioidable deaths.

"The Minister of Health will involve the administration of our tertiary health institutions to address this."

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Mustapha said that the PTF's early monitoring of the measures implemented, after easing the blockade yesterday, showed a lack of compliance with social distance and the use of masks.

He deplored the chaotic scenes surrounding banks and other financial institutions on the first day of the blockade's relief.

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He reiterated the danger of coverage 19, warning that individual actions would contribute to the success or failure of the new measures.

Read too: Exposure to COVID-19 patients forces private hospitals to close

Mustapha said: "Today marks the beginning of the president's guidelines to facilitate the blockade in Lagos, Ogun States and the Federal Capital Territory and the introduction of new measures across the country. The guidelines on the first phase of the new measures, from 4 to May 17, 2020, were published in eight newspapers.

Awareness is also being created through electronic transmission, online platforms and dissemination in local languages ​​by the National Guidance Agency (NOA) and other sources.

“We are particularly observing the chaotic scenes around banks and other financial institutions. We must reiterate that the danger of infection is not over and that individual actions will contribute to the success or failure of our measures.

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“We ask citizens to minimize the risk of being infected while trying to make transactions at banks. Likewise, we urge banks to ensure that their ATMs and online banking systems are in good condition and are stored regularly to prevent customers from converging on their premises.

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PTF fully understands Nigerians' desire to continue life after five weeks of blockade. State governments and security agencies, however, have been advised to apply the measures strictly and violators will be prosecuted.

Mustapha also spoke about Buhari's implementation of the interstate movement ban, saying the ban was imposed to limit the spread of the virus.

He said: “The PTF has also received reports on the level of compliance with the national ban on interstate movement. The purpose of the ban is to slow the spread of the virus across state borders. The government's determination to apply this policy is not in doubt and, as we progress, we believe that proper alignment with Mr. President's guidelines would be pursued.

There was a very notable relocation of Almajiris from one state to another, until yesterday. With the prohibition of interstate movement, the continuation of this exercise will not be in line with the guidelines issued. PTF must engage with the respective state governments on how to achieve its objectives. "

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