Healthcare workers in the FCT and other parts of the country have continually complained of inadequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) needed to actively fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Healthcare workers are vulnerable to the virus as they are first responders to patients.
As of June 2, about 812 health workers have already tested positive for COVID-19 in Nigeria, the head of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Chikwe Ihekweazu said.
A recent data released by the World Health Organisation (WHO), also pegged the number of infected health workers in Africa at 10,000 at the last count. Many health centres were found to lack the infrastructure necessary to implement key infection prevention measures or to prevent overcrowding.
Doctors under the aegis National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) had earlier downed tools over a dearth of PPE in hospitals, among several other reasons.
Nigeria’s health minister, Osagie Ehanire, however, said the claim by doctors that there were inadequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) in hospitals was incorrect.
As of July 27, Nigeria has recorded 40,532 cases of COVID-19, out of which 17,374 people have been discharged after recovering from the virus, while 858 have died.
It is, however, uncertain the number of health workers among the recorded cases as their identities are not disclosed officially. Only persons who test positive or their associates are allowed to disclose such identities.
In a bid to address these challenges, the Rotary Club of Abuja Federal and JHPIEGO, an affiliate of John Hopkins University, had a one-day skills training for healthcare workers on ‘Maternal and Neonatal Resuscitation, Infection, Prevention and Control in the COVID-19 era’.
PPEs such as face shields, resuscitation kit, and respiratory timer were also distributed to participants drawn from 20 PHCs across Abuja communities which included; Sauka, Kuchingoro, Lugbe, Tunga-Maje and Bwari.
Rotary, an international humanitarian organisation, is one of Nigeria’s development partners in the health sector.
The President, Rotary Club Abuja Federal, Patrick Ezie, said the training was targeted at providing the much-needed technical support to 20 PHC’s in the FCT.
This, he said, will broaden their capacities to provide better services while protecting themselves, patients and the community members from being infected with COVID-19.
According to him, the training was premeditated on a need’s assessment carried out by the Rotary Club, which revealed the many struggles confronting PHCs, especially in the COVID era.
“We are also building capacity of these healthcare workers to understand how to also isolate COVID-19 patients for transport to avoid the patient infecting people at the health care centre and community before referral to COVID-19 management centres.
“We thought it will be nice to add our own quota to this fight against the COVID-19 pandemic by ensuring that we get experts to provide technical training to 20 PHCs,” he said.
Mr Ezie also noted the need for establishment of more PHC’s in Abuja communities. “You cannot isolate a COVID-19 patient where there is no health care structure.”
A representative from JHPIEGO, Oluwatobi Adebayo, expressed worry over the high rate of maternal mortality and low acceptance of modern contraceptive method and usage by women in the country.
He said it is important to pay close attention to the welfare of women and children, especially the first one minute of a child’s life, which he described as the most crucial.
Similarly, the Acting Executive Secretary, FCT Primary Health Care Board, Ndaeyo Iwot, said Rotary was doing a lot towards achieving government’s goal in the fight against maternal and neonatal mortality in the country.
He urged the federal and state governments to declare a state of emergency on maternal and under five mortality.
Mr Iwot said the FCT was already putting mechanisms in place to do such, in order to ensure mothers, new born and children under the age of five were protected from preventable deaths.