COVID-19 healthcare: FCTA, FMOH partner

The Federal Capital Territory Administration and the Federal Ministry of Health will partner to ensure that no patient is turned away from any public hospital in the FCT for fear of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This was revealed following a stakeholders’ meeting held at the instance of the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello and his Health Ministry counterpart, Dr Osagie Ehanire to address increasing cases of inaccessibility of routine healthcare services in healthcare facilities by members of the public  due to uncertainties caused by the covid-19 pandemic,

 The FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, decried the trend saying, a situation whereby, the entire system is skewed and geared towards fighting only one, out of hundreds of ailments is a cause for great concern.

According to the FCT Minister, “Sad stories of people being turned away from hospitals with non-Covid related ailments or even denied life-saving first aid treatments for fear of contraction of the virus have come to the fore”, adding that “The increasing number of cases due to community transmission has thrown up the necessity of all our hospitals to become directly involved in this fight, especially with the collection of samples…”

He assured of a continued partnership between the FCTA and the Federal Ministry of Health in  the use of the facilities and expertise of both organisations for the improvement of health services in the FCT.

While commending health workers for their efforts in the fight against the pandemic, the Minister expressed the commitment of the FCT Administration towards sustained partnerships to step up public awareness, which, he said, was the key to putting a lid on its spread.

In his comments the Hon. Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, urged management of public hospitals not to give room for other life threatening illnesses to thrive and increase mortality. This, he said, would bring about a serious setback if medical services, including emergency services, begin to deteriorate in the wake of COVID 19. He stressed that neglect of any sick person was unethical and not acceptable while  assuring that adequate steps were being taken to ensure that patients are not turned away from hospitals to die needlessly,

He further warned  that Chief Medical Directors of hospitals would be held accountable personally for the outcome emanating from their hospital, stressing that, “No emergency should be denied attention, even if it means admitting someone on a stretcher or an examination couch, to give them life-saving oxygen, instead of rejecting them and saying you have no bed. You have to do something. The least is to give oxygen”.

The Health Minister also informed the gathering that the Nigerian Airforce has guaranteed the supply of oxygen when needed, urging hospital heads  to ensure that patients are attended to with dignity and dispatch saying that in  subsequent meetings, medical Directors of Private hospitals will also be briefed on this development.

Speaking on COVID-19, Dr Ehanire said “The Hon. Minister of FCT and I have agreed on the protocol to link all major public hospitals in the FCT catchment area, whether they are managed by Federal or FCT Administration, to the COVID-19 sample collection site to facilitate fast sample collection, reduce turnaround time for test results and to bring more efficiency to the response strategy.

In his submission, the DG, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu commended the FCT Minister and his team for the long strides taken to curb the spread of the pandemic in the FCT .

According to the NCDC Boss, “The FCT has been an absolute leader in the work we have done. We have close to 20,000 tests in the FCT and about 2,000 positives. This is the highest number of tests per population in any state in Nigeria. This shows the excellent work that has happened in FCT.

He also disclosed that the NCDC will support the FCT team in operationalizing seven sample collection sites across the Territory. These are in the National Reference Laboratory in Gaduwa, the Federal Ministry of Health premises, Federal Medical Center Jabi, National Hospital, University of Abuja Teaching Hospital in Gwagwalada and the General Hospitals in Garki and Nyanya.”

“We will start with these seven, aiming that by the end of the week after, we will operationalize across all general hospitals in the FCT to be sample collection sites” Dr Ihekweazu said.

He further disclosed that the NCDC will provide training sample collection materials quality assurance and Infection Prevention and Control support in all the sites.

At the end of the meeting, the Medical Directors of public hospitals in the FCT pledged that no patient will be denied necessary health care at the hospitals and commended the FCT Administration for the provision of adequate Personal Protective Equipment, PPEs in all the hospitals.

Also in attendance at the meeting were, Minister of State for Health, Senator, Adeleke Mamora, Chief of Staff to the FCT Minister, Malam Bashir Mai Borno, the CMD of Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Prof. Sylvanus Okogbenin, CMD National Hospital Abuja, Dr JAF Momoh, the CMD of the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Prof. Bissalah Ekele, the GM of FCTA Hospital Management Board Dr Francis Alu,  Medical Directors of FCT public hospitals as well as officials of the Federal Ministry of health.

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