Treat COVID-19 patients at isolation centres, NMA warns

The Nigeria Medical Association on Sunday said treatment of persons who tested positive for COVID-19 should be done at the designated isolation or treatment centres across the country.

President of the association, Dr Francis Faduyile, who spoke to our correspondent in Abuja on the backdrop of the revelation that the late Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, was treated at a private hospital in Lagos before his death, said the complex nature of treating COVID-19 cases informed the decision to create special treatment centres for those infected.

He said, “It is good to know the powers of each of the organs of government. Accreditation of hospitals is basically in the hands of states since health is on the concurrent list. But because of coronavirus, the Federal Government can set up additional accreditation team to make sure all procedures are adhered to.

“If Lagos State in its own capacity accredited First Cardiology Consultant Hospital to take care of COVID-19, it is within its purview. However, the stand of the Federal Government and NMA is that cases of COVID-19 should be treated in the isolation or treatment centres because there are so many things involved which go beyond the expertise of the medical personnel.

“There are engineering, contact and administrative control that must be included in the accreditation. It is because of this that we have advised and insisted that treatment should remain in public institutions for now.”

Faduyile said that NMA had compiled a list of volunteers among its members who had shown interest in helping in the fight against coronavirus in Nigeria, saying that the names had been sent to the Ministry of Health as directed.

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He added, “But that is at the national level. At state levels, our members are volunteering to help the states. In Lagos State, medical personnel have volunteered to help the state and they are working.”

Speaking on the increase in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the last few days, Faduyile noted, “We have a change in the way infection is being spread. Initially, it was coming through people who travelled to Nigeria from abroad. But now, we have history of people being infected even without having any contact with people who have travelled. This means that we now have a lot of community transmission.

“The fear is that community transmission will be more rampant than when we have individual cases coming from outside the country. That is the reason for increase in the number of cases.

“But more importantly is the fact that testing capacity has increased. If we have more rate of testing, then it is likely we will have more chances of reaching those who are positive.”

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