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FG Warns Private Hospitals Against Treating COVID-19 Patients Without Approval

The federal government thursday warned that it would henceforth close any private hospitals and other health facilities that treat COVID-19 patients without authorisation.

There have been concerns about the danger to public health, the growing number of private health care providers managing infected persons without accreditation.

Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, responded to these concerns yesterday in Abuja during the media briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, saying the federal government would come down heavily on any unauthorised facility offering treatment to infected patients.

He added that the focus now is to carry out more community testing and social mobilisation at the grassroots to ensure physical distancing.

It has also shortlisted two airlines for the evacuation of Nigerians stranded in foreign countries with high cases of COVID-19.

Incidences in the country, however, rose to 442 yesterday with 152 patients discharged and 13 dead.

The government also assured the nation that part of its efforts at combating the virus included budgetary provision for research into finding a vaccine.

However, it warned that without strict adherence to the guidelines it had rolled out to contain the virus, the pandemic would spread to the 36 states of the federation.

Also yesterday, a total of 11 patients were discharged in Lagos, Ogun and Bauchi states after being treated and tested negative for the virus.

Ehanire appealed to Nigerians not to cast aspersion or deride people infected with the pandemic, noting that such behaviour was capable of derailing efforts of the government to curb the spread of the virus.

He said the government would push out more messages and advisories on the use of masks or improvised face coverings like handkerchiefs or scarves over the mouth and nose, to reduce the risk of transmission.

“I shall use this opportunity to again strongly advise health professionals against private or secret management of people who have COVID-19 outside of accredited health facilities. We cannot afford avoidable morbidity and mortality,” he said, warning: “Private facilities must obtain accreditation to treat this highly infectious disease. Practitioners engaging in unauthorised treatment of COVID-19 run the risk of being shut down for decontamination.”

The minister described the latest COVID-19 fatality that occurred in Lagos, which claimed the life of a medical doctor, as unfortunate.

He said to avoid such an incident in the future, the federal government has been appealing to health workers to adhere to all instructions and regulations and to always utilise personal protective equipment (PPE) while maintaining a high index of suspicion for COVID-19.

According to him, the target this week is to increase the 3,000 national testing capacity.

In a bid to achieve the target, two more laboratories are scheduled to be opened in Borno and Sokoto states.

On concerns about stigmatisation, Ehanire said COVID-19 outbreak had provoked social stigma and discrimination against anyone thought to have been in contact with the virus as well as people of certain backgrounds.

He regretted that those with the disease, their caregivers, family, friends, and communities, were often labelled, stereotyped, discriminated against and treated poorly because of a disease.

The minister said stigma could prompt social isolation of persons or groups and drive people to hide the illness, thus preventing them from seeking health care immediately.

“This could cause a situation where the virus is more likely to spread and increase the difficulty of controlling the COVID-19 outbreak. We must not stigmatise persons who have recovered from COVID-19,” he said.

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Copyright 2020 SIGNAL. Permission to use portions of this article is granted provided appropriate credits are given to www.signalng.com and other relevant source.

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