NIGERIA’S presidential task force (PTF) on Covid-19 has expressed concern about the increasing threat to public health as a result of the large number of counterfeit test kits on the market and the constant refusal of hospitals to admit sick patients.
Still reeling from the fact that coronavirus infection figures are rising, Nigeria is grappling to contain the control of the pandemic and with the government gradually easing the lockdown, this threat is growing. To make matters worse, corrupt individuals have begun selling sub-standards test kits on the black market.
In addition, several hospitals have been acting unprofessionally by turning sick patients away, afraid of the fact that they may bring the Covid-19 virus into their facilities. Several patients, some of them with other ailments not related to the virus, have been known to die outside hospital gates as they were refused admission.
Boos Mustapha, the chairman of the presidential task force on Covid-19, said hospitals were rejecting patients despite directives from the Federal Ministry of Health not to do so. He warned that if this unprofessional behaviour continued, the government would find it hard to cope with the rising number of patients.
Mr Mustapha, said, “The PTF has received rather sadly, reports of continued refusal by medical institutions to receive and treat patients for fear of Covid-19. This has resulted in several unfortunate and avoidable fatalities and statistics have shown that there is a drastic drop in the percentage of attention being paid to other ailments not related to Covid-19.
“This situation is made worse by the fact that federal tertiary institutions have been mentioned among those rejecting patients for fear of Covid-19. This is not acceptable and we are saddened by this development.
“The minister of health has reached out to all medical directors directing them to continue providing regular medical services so that we do not end up with avoidable deaths. Truth be told, we are having more deaths from non-attendance to other diseases than even Covid-19.”
Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, the director-general of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), then raised the alarm over the growing number of fake kits on the market. He added that some organisations are selling what they call antibody tests which could not give valid Covid-19 results.