NMA Decries Looting of Health Facilities

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* Says resurgence of diseases likely

By Onyebuchi Ezigbo

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has said that the wanton destruction of hospital facilities by hoodlums who hijacked #EndSARS protesters is capable of endangering the health of Nigerians and have irredeemable negative impact on the health system.

It said that one of the immediate effects of this unbecoming behaviour of the hoodlums is the danger the public is exposed to.

It also said that improper handling of drugs and vaccines may have long life effects not only on human beings but also on the environment

In a statement jointly signed by NMA President, Dr. Innocent Ujah, and Secretary General, Dr Philips Uche Ekpe, the body said it was painfully disturbed by the violent turn of events as hoodlums seeking COVID-19 palliatives attacked health facilities ranging from burning of hospitals and clinics to looting and vandalism of medical and hospital supplies, consumables and vaccines.

“The NMA as the umbrella body of Nigerian doctors and leader of the health team condemns in an unequivocal terms this barbaric, primitive and wanton destruction of hospital facilities that is capable of endangering the health of Nigerians and have irredeemable negative impact on the health system.

“The unfortunate action of the hoodlums will further weaken the delivery of health services as Nigeria continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in an already near comatose health system and will certainly be a setback on our country’s desire to achieve the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” it said.

NMA urged those who are in custody of the medicament and hospital equipment to return them either to be used or destroyed professionally because some of the medicament can be very harmful to the human body.

According to the doctors, vaccines that were carted away by hoodlums are meant to prevent diseases which may lead to resurgence of vaccine-preventable childhood diseases.

“We therefore, urge all those in custody of these vaccines to return them to the health facilities for revalidation for possible use. No form of attacks on any health facility and hospital personnel is tolerated in any civilized country.

“NMA feels very embarrassed and disappointed that health workers, facilities and equipment were not secured nor protected by Security Agencies to forestall the monumental nationwide looting and vandalism of government and private properties.

“We were shocked on the magnitude of the reported looting and vandalism of health facilities, hospital equipment, vaccines, drugs and consumables as well as assaults on our members, who were in the line of duty in Lagos, Ebonyi, Delta, Edo, Cross River, Kaduna, Nasarawa and Ekiti States,” it said.