347 views | Dr. Biodun Ogungbo | April 11, 2020
Hey, great news
The Honourable Minister of Health (MOH) said that doctors managing Coronavirus and COVID-19 disease are only doing their normal day jobs of checking patients’ temperature. Apparently, he is neither aware nor concerned about whether they are entitled to hazard pay or even life insurance.
This is great news
It clearly confirms that we have a comedian as a MOH and though a certified medical doctor, he is someone who has lost touch with the profession and reality.
Further, the Secretary-General of the Federation said he is not aware of the deplorable condition of our healthcare facilities and conditions of service of practitioners.
He has apparently not used the healthcare system in Nigeria for the past 40 years!
Regardless, of the total disconnect of the government from our day to day realities, one thing is vitally important: we now have foresight. A taste of things to come after COVID-19!
They have demonstrated to all healthcare practitioners that the government will use you now and abuse you later. They do not listen to the Nigerian Medical Association: the real experts in matters related to health. They ignore the Guild of Medical Directors: owners of private hospitals in Nigeria, who are begging to support government efforts.
Forget that over 100 doctors have died leading the line in Italy and many more all over the world. Forget that members of the public are clapping for healthcare practitioners all over the world except in Nigeria.
Governance in motion
In Nigeria, do not forget that doctors and nurses have been exposed to the disease in Benin, Lagos and Ilorin. Do not forget that until today, the government claims credit for beating the Ebola virus in Nigeria. No, not Dr Stella Adadevoh or the First Consultant Hospital, Obalende.
Do you know the names of the doctors and nurses who have been sick so far in Nigeria? How many of them have been acknowledged or honoured for their sacrifice?
Do not forget that Lassa fever is ravaging the country right now and there is little being done by the MOH and his crew of praise-singers. How many doctors have Lassa fever claimed without a single mention or recognition by the government? Are their families being looked after?
Be smart people, your services are not and will not be appreciated in Nigeria. The responsibility for your life is in your hands. Remember this timeless aphorism: Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
This reminds me of what I read recently about the need for caution in a pandemic. It reiterates the simple truth that there is no panic in a pandemic and under no condition should you risk your life to save a patient that is infected with the Coronavirus.
If you do not have proper personal protective equipment (PPE), do not go near such a patient, no matter what. You as a healthcare worker are a force multiplier. Your training and experience are invaluable moving into this crisis. You’re going to be faced with some very difficult moments and decisions. You’re going to have to put your own needs and your life first.
If you’re an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nurse or an ICU doctor, and you become infected, not only are you out of the game for potentially weeks (or killed) but your replacements could be people without your expertise. Your remaining co-workers are short-staffed now, more likely to make mistakes and become ill themselves. You stop being a force multiplier and start using healthcare resources.
Forget that thing
Forget that thing that you swore an out-dated oath or you are a humanitarian. Those who are busy stealing the nations’ resources and depriving all of us of quality healthcare are human beings too. So, forget and do what is safe for yourself and your patients. There is no honour in your death and no salvation for the people you will leave behind.
During this outbreak, people will die. If we don’t have proper PPE we will not go in. You may have a survivor in the room, screaming at you to come in because their mother is crashing. You may have an infected woman in labour screaming for help. Do not go in without your PPE.
You going in may save the patient, and similarly, it may not. But you can’t save any patient in the weeks you’re lying in a hospital bed or using a ventilator yourself.
People are going to die. Do not become one of them. Doing nothing may be the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do in your life. Remember that self-preservation rules ok, in the current climate and the current situation in Nigeria.
You can only save lives: if you are alive and well!
NB: ‘’Those who forget the past are bound to repeat it’’