The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has warned that the failure of Nigerians to adhere to COVID-19 protocols could lead to a second wave of infections in the country.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, on Saturday, reported 162 new COVID-19 cases in Gombe (54), FCT (35), Lagos (26), Ogun (12), Plateau (10), Rivers (10), Kaduna (4), Ekiti (3), Edo (2), Osun (2), Bayelsa (1), Imo (1), Ondo (1) and Oyo (1).
As of October 31, the country had recorded a total of 62,853 confirmed cases, 58,675 discharged and 1,144 deaths.
Ehanire raised the alarm on Saturday during the virtual Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference of the Guild of Medical Directors in Lagos State with the theme ‘Post-COVID-19 Era: Economics and Healthcare Delivery in Nigeria.’
The minister stated that the second wave being experienced in Europe and America should give the country concern because of the high volume of human traffic from Nigeria to those continents, reopening of schools and “serious disruptions” in response caused by the #EndSARS protest.
He said, “I fear that with the laxity displayed by our own population, our own second wave is imminent.”
Ehanire called on the private sector and state governments to help propagate compliance to non-pharmaceutical measures such as hand-washing, use of face masks and social distancing, among others.
The Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora, in his remarks, advised doctors to ensure professionalism and courage, maintain good reputation and ethics in carrying out their services, and participate actively in politics.
President of the GMD, Prof Olufemi Babalola, noted that the year had been the most challenging for doctors in private practice because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the lockdown and running practices in a harsh economic environment.
Babalola said, “We all find ourselves in the front line of healthcare, daily exposing ourselves to the possibility of infection while attending to our patients. And in spite of these dangers, we have soldiered on with very little support from outside our own efforts. Indeed, we have lost some members.”
He added that the guild had also undertaken advocacy visits to the National Health Insurance Scheme to advocate the release of the backlog of payment of services rendered by members, and the adoption of a more reasonable tariff for care providers.
Former Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank, Fola Adeola, who was the keynote speaker on the occasion, called for improved infectious disease treatment capabilities, training and incentives for health workers.
According to him, it is important to address the elitist healthcare delivery system in place and democratize healthcare in a way that allows meaningful advancement towards universal healthcare for all.