The National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Sani Aliyu, has appealed to private hospitals in the country not to reject patients with other diseases.
He said hospitals “are there to look after patients, hospitals are not there to turn patients back, people should not be allowed to suffer or die because of COVID infection.
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“We must not allow preventable deaths to occur in our communities simply because of COVID or because we are afraid of it.
“If anything, the emergence of COVID-19 has led to the detriment in terms of care for other essential health services and this negative impact included reduction in health services that could arise from disruptions in medical supply chains or the availability of human and financial resources.
“Also there is a decline in people accessing healthcare, simply because of fear of getting affected by COVID-19.
“We’ve also seen reduced access to health care for medical diagnosis of other conditions and for the most vulnerable populations, like children, the elderly and those with underlying illnesses such as diabetes.
“As I’ve said in the past, if you have fever today in Nigeria, it’s more likely going to be due to malaria than due to COVID infection and people need to be able to access care.”
He said the PTF would continue to protect the health and safety of health workers both in the public and private sectors. “We’re appealing to the private sector facilities to make sure they have adequate PPE to protect their staff.”
He said the PTF had been observing a steady rise in maternal and child mortality as a result of disrupted essential services.
“We’ve also seen life-saving, maternal, newborn and child, health services, routine vaccinations, access to care for chronic conditions such as HIV and other treatments not being delivered in our hospitals.
“We’ve also seen diversion of certain products like second-line HIV drugs for instance, antiretroviral that is being used for HIV treatment and that is currently being used for COVID infection and as mentioned by the DG NCDC.”