Outbreak: Physiotherapist calls for more funding for health sector

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A Consultant Physiotherapist, Dr Chris Okafor, on Wednesday appealed to the three tiers of government to increase their funding for the health sector for it to curb infectious diseases in the country.

Okafor, also a Senior Lecturer, Department of Physiotherapy, University of Lagos, Akoka, made the plea in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

He spoke against the backdrop of the resurgence of Lassa fever that had in recent times killed some health workers in some states.

NAN reports that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) had on Jan.14 confirmed four cases of Lassa fever among healthcare workers in Ebonyi.

Also, a medical doctor had on Jan. 22 died of the disease in Irrua, Edo after contracting Lasa fever while treating a seven-month-old patient.

The consultant said, “We are in an era where we are having sporadic and some strange ailments; in the past few years, the country recorded a number of them; we had Ebola, monkey pox, Lassa fever.

“Currently, we are having a resurgence of Lassa fever; these diseases need a lot of funds for the sector to be able to reduce their impacts on the society.

“This cannot be done by the healthcare professionals without adequate funding from the government. “

He said that many of these infectious diseases were contagious and often, healthcare providers were more vulnerable.

Okafor said that government should provide insurance policies for healthcare practitioners who sacrifice their lives trying to fight the diseases.

The consultant also urged the public to seek knowledge about diseases and what role they could play in minimising their  scourge.

According to him, with good knowledge and healthcare practices, many of these diseases can be prevented.

“People should pay more attention to learning and hearing more, benefitting from the knowledge and awareness that they gain on diseases and translating them to their lifestyles.

“We can have a better healthcare system where several people can stay away from diseases, especially, those we can have control over.

“Beyond the government, individuals should play their role by educating themselves on how to stay away from diseases, “ Okafor said.

The lecturer also called on the Federal and state governments to employ more physiotherapists in order to reduce the growing trend of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the country.

He urged the government to increase the quota of employment in the teaching and general hospitals, universities and research centres.

According to him, physiotherapists have a huge role to play in reducing NCDs by creating awareness and encouraging individuals to be active and not sedentary.

“The government has not done so much in encouraging physiotherapists to carry out their role in helping to reduce the growing trends, in our contribution and management of NCDs.

“As we speak, we have barely nine universities that train physiotherapists among the country’s universities.’’

He said that when we placed the available physiotherapists available against the population of those who needed their services, the country still needed to train and employ more.

The consultant also said that increasing the number of trained physiotherapists would reduce quackery in the sector.

According to him, many people thrived in the healthcare space where there are limited qualified professionals to provide care.

Okafor urged the government to improve opportunities for healthcare accessibility to individuals including the aging population and pregnant women.

According to him, the country loses more in terms of childcare delivery and post-natal care compared to its neighbouring countries.

“If the government pays more attention to the healthcare of its citizens, it will help to reduce casualties at different levels,“ he said. (NAN)

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