Wema Bank has introduced self-dispensing hand sanitisers, and body temperature scanners at all its branches in the country in a move aimed at curtailing the spread of Ebola.
The bank is also introducing protective gears for members of its staffs especially those who deal directly with customers.
In a notice to customers released Monday, the bank said henceforth all customers and visitors to any branch of the bank would be required to use the hand sanitisers and be scanned for symptoms of fever before being admitted into their banking halls.
“In the wake of the recent Ebola Virus Disease outbreak across West Africa, we are compelled to introduce the following preventive health and safety initiatives at all our business locations in order to ensure a safe banking environment for all customers and staff,” the bank stated.
“All customers and visitors are required to use the hand sanitisers and also undergo a quick non-invasive body temperature scan before being allowed into our banking halls and business locations.
“In addition, some of our staff at the more sensitive desks will also be required to wear some protective gears while interacting with customers and other visitors during this period” the document added.
The bank did not say what provisions will be made for customers who are denied access due to their body temperature or other health concerns. The bank did not respond to PREMIUM TIMES’ inquiry Monday.
The federal Ministry of Health said it was not informed of the move, considered by some as discriminatory.
A health campaign organization, Projekthope, said the new policy is discriminatory.
“We should all learn to do things right. The presence of Ebola symptoms does not necessarily mean transmission will take place,” said Steve Aborisade, who heads Ibadan-based Projekthope. “And even if we want to be hyper proactive it should be sensitive in ways that will not be discriminatory and which actually stops transmission which is our first purpose.”
However, a medical expert said the bank should go beyond screening and make adequate referral arrangements for customers who may be turned away due to their health.
“I don’t think we should see it in the light of a discriminatory policy, I think they are just trying to act on the side of caution,” said Osahon Enabulele, the immediate past president of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA.
“The end point should be to aid the referral of such an individual to the nearest health facility for appropriate treatment. And of course, I expect that they should have a medical unit in the bank to quickly evaluate clients that may have suspicious features to properly evaluate them and not just to turn them away,” Mr. Enabulele said.