The Lagos State chairman, Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners, Dr. Tunji Akintade, says the death of doctors from COVID-19 complications is compounding the problem of inadequate physicians in the country.
He said the death of one doctor is capable of leaving 10,000 Nigerians without a physician to care for them.
Akintade, who is a public health physician, spoke in reaction to the recent revelation by the Nigerian Medical Association that 20 medical doctors died within a week from COVID-19.
Recall that the chairman of the NMA, Federal Capital Territory chapter, Enema Amodu, said last Friday that 20 Nigerian doctors had died from complications arising from coronavirus in the last one week.
Speaking with PUNCH HealthWise in an interview on Monday, Akintade said the death of even one doctor will further widen the already huge gap of the number of patients each physician cares for in the country.
“The life of every single Nigerian is too important and we must try to save every life.
“However, the death of a doctor means we have another 10,000 Nigerians without a physician. So, the death of a doctor is one death too many,” he said.
The AGPMPN boss also called for better data gathering and analysis to ascertain the actual number of doctors lost to COVID-19, noting that as a scientist, he knows the importance of figures to healthcare planning.
Akintade also stated that the disconnection between the government and the citizens as regards the reality of the viral pandemic was contributing to doctors’ deaths.
“The National Orientation Agency and the media should intensify public enlightenment to convince our people of the reality of COVID-19. The citizens don’t believe our leaders, but the government must enforce the law and ensure that people adhere to safety measures,” he said.
He also flayed the placing of economic consideration above health in deciding to relax the COVID-19 lockdown.
“Economists pressured the government to lift the ban on lockdown, but we now have a second wave of COVID-19. Who is to blame for this decision?” Akintade asked.
When asked what should be done to protect Nigerian doctors from getting infected with COVID-19 in the line of duty, the physician said the nation must work towards protecting all its citizens and not just doctors.
“If we protect all our citizens, then we would not have patients that will be infecting doctors.
“We also need to take care of all citizens with underlying health conditions, including doctors, especially the co-morbidity conditions like non-communicable diseases.
“It is also important to strictly enforce the safety guidelines and ensure there is adherence to prevention protocols in all our health facilities. These measures will help us,” he said.
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