NMA urges health workers to treat every patient as a potential coronavirus case

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The rate of COVID-19 infections among health workers in Lagos is causing grave concerns for the leadership of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), urging colleagues to approach their duties with utmost caution.

In a joint statement by Adetunji Adenekan and Ime Okon, the chairman and secretary of the Lagos State Chapter of the association on Thursday, they decried the loss of medical personnel to the raging disease while commiserating with bereaved families.

“The events of the last few weeks have been quite unprecedented and very shocking within the Medical Community of our beloved state.

“There has been an increased rate of infections (morbidity) and deaths (mortality) of our most cherished members of the NMA, Lagos chapter.

“It is with a heavy heart that our most affectionate chairman on behalf of the State Officers Committee of the NMA, Lagos State, wishes to commiserate with the families of our members who have succumbed to the COVID-19 disease at this precarious time in Lagos State.

“May their souls rest in peace,’’ they said.

The executives consequently emphasised the need for all healthcare workers to be more safety conscious at this time and adhere strictly to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) COVID-19 guidelines.

They said that the COVID-19 non-pharmaceutical interventions and other preventive protocols should be strictly observed in the course of discharging their duties and in other public spaces.

“We also emphasise the need for a very high index of suspicion among healthcare practitioners and providers, particularly during this unpredictable second wave in the state.

“Consider everyone as a suspected COVID-19 case, and ensure universal precautions always,’’ they said.

The association recommended strict adherence to the basic COVID-19 Infection Prevention Control guide of wearing facemasks in public places, avoiding touching of the mouth, eyes and nose with unclean hands.

Others include regular hand washing or sanitising with alcohol based sanitiser, proper use of Personal Protective Equipment at all times in the line of duty, avoiding crowded places and maintaining physical distancing in public gatherings.

“In the event of the experience of any COVID-19 related symptoms (fever, cough, fatigue, anosmia, dysgeusia, malaise, breathlessness), do not keep to yourself, urgently seek medical attention,’’ they advised.

The NMA leaders also advised the healthcare workers to stay safe, and take responsibility for their health and wellbeing.

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