NIGERIA’S premier public health facility the University College Hospital (UCH) in Ibadan has been accused of worsening the coronavirus pandemic in the country because the poor state of its facilities has led to the spread among its staff.
In the main, Nigeria has been spared the worst excesses of the global pandemic with just 111 cases so far and only one fatality. At UCH, however, four key members of staff have contracted the virus including the chief medical director Professor Abiodun Otegbayo, the provost of the college of medicine, his deputy and the chairman of the governing board.
Comrade Ademola Babalola, the chairman of the Oyo State chapter of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has subsequently appealed to the federal government to step in and assist the hospital. He called on the government to save UCH by providing it with enough funding in line with a recent plea by Professor Otegbayo.
NUJ in a statement signed by its Chairman, Comrade Ademola Babalola and Secretary, Sola Oladapo, said that the demand became imperative due to a statement credited to the hospital Chief Medical Director (CMD), Abiodun Otegbayo who recently solicited for funds for the hospital from prominent Nigerians to tackle the Coronavirus menace.
Also, the union wondered why due diligence was not done to ascertain the condition of all attendees at the meeting where the virus was spread. It also expressed concern on why the meeting had to hold despite the ongoing efforts to control the spread of coronavirus across Oyo State.
According to the NUJ, the chief medical director, despite his knowledge of his exposure to a suspected case still went ahead granting interviews to journalists without warning them of his vulnerability. It said it viewed this act as irresponsible and avoidable.
Comrade Babalola said: “The reason to call for better funding of the UCH stemmed from the recent statement of the chief medical director, soliciting for funds from well-meaning Nigerians to help the hospital with consumables and other medical necessities to fight the virus. The federal government must act very fast before things snowball out of control.”
He called on the federal government to stop paying lip services to the hospital. The NUJ tasked the government to devise means of specially funding the UCH to prepare adequately for the pandemic.