Lassa fever: Ill-equipped hospitals cause of six doctors’ death — NARD

Lassa fever

The National Association of Resident Doctors has said health facilities in the country are not adequately equipped to handle infectious diseases outbreaks, noting that the situation is responsible for deaths of healthcare workers

President of the association, Dr.AliyuSokomba, said since the outbreak of Lassa fever in the country, some medical doctors had contracted the haemorrhagic fever, and that six of them had died as a result.

“We have lost six doctors because they got exposed in the course of attending to Lassa fever patients.

“Two doctors from Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano; one from the Federal Medical Centre, Azare in Bauchi State; and two from AbubakarTafawaBalewa University Teaching Hospital, Bauchi,” Sokomba said.

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He could not confirm the location of one of the victims as of the time of filing this report.

Continuing, Sokomba said, “With the recent outbreaks in the country, one would have thought that healthcare workers’ welfare and wellbeing would be given utmost attention to enable them do their job diligently, but this is not the case.

“The personal protective equipment is not readily available. In some centres, there are PPEs but not adequately available; and in some centres, they are not available at all.”

He also said none of the deceased doctors had life insurance that their family members would have claimed.

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“The government claims to have Group Life Assurance Policy — a contract of insurance designed to provide for payment of capital sum to dependents of any employee who dies in active service, but it has failed to implement it,” Sokomba lamented.

He said the policy was supposed to be compulsory by virtue of the Pension Reform Act 2014.

“Specifically, Section 4(5) of the Act requires employers to maintain life assurance policy or death-in-service benefits scheme in favour of their employees.

“This is aimed at providing financial succour to the family of the deceased and solely provided by the employer for the employee’s benefits as stipulated in the Act.

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“NARD has, over the years, made concerted efforts with the relevant agencies of government to ensure that lives of healthcare workers are properly insured, but we have not succeeded.”

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