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COVID-19: CMD urges improved health infrastructure

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Prof. Sylvanus Okogbenin, the Chief Medical Director (CMD), Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Edo, has called for improved health infrastructure across the country.

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He made the call at a joint meeting of ministers of Health and FCT with medical directors of government hospitals in Federal Capital Territory (FCT) catchment areas on Thursday in Abuja.

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Okogbenin who gave a presentation on “Infection, prevention and control measures in the hospital’’ said that the call became necessary following experiences being recorded during this COVID-19 pandemic.

He said “I want us to use our experiences during this COVID-19 pandemic to develop our hospitals such that if we have this type of pandemic in future, we will be able to manage it.

“COVID-19 is going to be with us longer than expected, so at our hospitals, we should put measures in place to manage both COVID-19 and other patients suffering different ailments so that we don’t lose anyone.

“Health workers are vulnerable to infection because many patients coming to hospitals have infection and others who don’t have infection are vulnerable.

“We have been working in the area of Lassa fever in the past 10 years and none of the staff working in isolation centres has been infected but staff outside the centre do get infected with Lassa.

“The reason is that those who work in isolation centres know that they are exposed to risk and because of that, they follow infectious prevention measures.

“Hospitals should make sure that they have stringent Infection Prevention Standard (IPS) measures in case of COVID-19 to make sure that both health workers and patients are safe.

“IPS measures are standard measures to prevent workers who first get involved in the separation of suspected cases from non-suspects, as well as the use of hand sanitiser and temperature check at the first point.”

The professor said IPS also involved the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), ensuring proper waste disposal and environmental sanitation; all these are part of measures that hospitals should invest in.

“If all these measures are put in place to protect health workers, it will reduce fears to attend to emergencies in hospitals,’’ he said.

Okogbenin, however, appealed to leadership of hospitals to make judicious use of funds given to them, saying that when they use fund wisely, they would get more resources.

Prof. Bissalah Ekele, the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, appealed to private organisations to support teaching hospitals for effective service delivery.

Ekele thanked the Ministry of Health, FCTA and the private sector for getting necessary support.

He said “we don’t have any reason to reject patients because we have all the facilities to treat all cases in the hospital.”

Edited By: Olawunmi Ashafa/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu (NAN)

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