BY: Olufemi Atoyebi
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, on Thursday, revealed that 113 health workers had been infected with COVID-19.
Ehanire, who disclosed this at the press briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja, said they included workers in the public and private health facilities.
He, therefore, reiterated his advice to health workers that it was dangerous to treat coronavirus patients without using personal protective equipment.
The minister had, at the task force media briefing in Abuja on April 23, said about 40 health workers in the country had tested positive for coronavirus.
Ehanire, who lauded health workers for their commitment to the war against COVID-19, warned them against treating patients without the PPE.
He said, “Please, do not treat any patient without using the PPE. Frontline health workers must undertake refresher training at intervals. This warning has become necessary due to the number of health workers, who have tested positive for COVID-19. They are over 40 now and they have been quarantined.”
But the Nigerian Medical Association, through its National President, Dr Francis Faduyile, in its reaction, said most of those who contracted COVID-19 were not health workers treating COVID-19 patients, but personnel in other hospitals.
On Thursday, the health minister said the risk of being infected with COVID-19 was the reason why the task force warned health workers against treating patients without using the PPE.
He said, “The latest figure we have is that 113 health workers have been infected. They are not all public health workers. There are some from private hospitals.
“If you hear us speak frequently against treating coronavirus in private clinics, we are actually referring to people who do so without precaution and training. They risk infecting themselves and their families. Health care workers with no training have no business handling coronavirus.
“As for those who do not have equipment, we have said that we will provide protective equipment. Let me remind you that there is a global shortage. They (the pieces of equipment) are really scarce but we are doing what we can to make sure our frontline workers have the requirement. We also have a stockpile that we can send quickly. For example, we sent a stockpile to Kano.”