By Omon-Julius Onabu
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has called on government at all levels to provide adequate and appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to all health workers particularly in Delta State to prevent infection with the COVID-19 or any other infectious diseases currently ravaging the global community.
Delta State Chairman of the NMA, Dr. Ekeneam Omo, made the appeal in Asaba yesterday while briefing newsmen on situation update on the Coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Dr. Omo, the urgently required PPE include minimum of N95 quality facemasks, gloves, face shield/goggles and aprons as routine, while hazard suit should be made available for use by them when deemed absolutely necessary.
He lamented that three doctors had died in the course of treating patients with Coronavirus in Ondo, Lagos and Katsina states.
“In the light of the very high risk involved in the management of COVID-19 patients and other infectious diseases and to ensure continued commitment of doctors to the discharge of optimal patient care in the face of these risks, the need for adequate provision of the PPE cannot be emphasised,” the NMA chairman said.
Nevertheless, the association also demanded the upward review of hazard allowance of all doctors and healthcare workers from the meagre five thousand naira and make it a percentage of consolidated basic salary.
Dr. Omo said the NMA demanded “The constitution of compensation package for all doctors and healthcare workers who die or suffer disability for attending to patients suffering from COVID-19 infections, which could be in the form of life and disability insurance.
“Tax relief on earned allowances for all healthcare workers as a morale booster to continue to take the risks associated with working in this pandemic period.”
However, the association directed all doctors in Delta State “not to go near any COVID-19 positive patient without the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment.”
Nonetheless, the group reiterated the fact that the general public should realise that “COVID-19 is not a political scam.
“We plead with you to please obey the Stay-At-Home instruction as it is not punishment but one of the critical sacrifices we all have to make towards containing the spread of this virus”.