16/04/2020 Rejoinder

NURSES PROTEST LACK OF PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT AT ABUJA NATIONAL HOSPITAL AFTER SUSPECTED COVID-19 PATIENT RUSHED TO INTENSIVE CARE UNIT

The attention of the Management of the National Hospital Abuja has been drawn to the unprofessional allegations in an Online Publication with the above title. The allegation is to say the least false and malicious and is completely unfair to Management and Staff of the Hospital who are doing everything to contribute to the management and control of the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The National Hospital Abuja is one of the Tertiary Health facilities in the FCT that has been designated as Treatment Centre for COVID-19 patient by the Federal Ministry of Health. Before now the Hospital has an Isolation Unit for treatment of Lassa Fever which was easy to convert for control/management for COVID-19. This Isolation Unit was inspected by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the Accreditation Team of the Federal Ministry of Health and the FCT Epidemiology Department, at different times and certified suitable for use for the treatment of COVID-19 positive patients. Indeed this Unit has been used for treatment of Lassa Fever patients in the past and was only recently upgraded.

Since 27th January 2020, the Hospital commenced sensitization of staff followed by several training sessions on prevention and treatment of Infectious Diseases. In addition, several volunteer staff were part of this capacity building that was facilitated by professionals in this field and staff of NCDC.

Since March 2020, some patients diagnosed with COVID-19 have been transferred to the Hospital, admitted and some have been successfully treated at the Isolation Unit and discharged. The Federal Ministry of Health, through the NCDC and the FCTA have provided us the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) needed for the management of these patients. We have followed the approved protocol for the management of these patients.

The Hospital continues to render other essential services; all emergency services and attend to some routine patients, despite the current lockdown. All units are given the required PPEs for the level of work they do, following standard protocols. All units can restock as the need may arise, from the Director of Clinical Services.

So far none of the patients admitted for emergency care for other illnesses has tested positive for COVID-19. Emergency cases are treated for their primary disease(s), using the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment in a holding room if there is additional suspicion of COVID-19, until test results are released. So far, no such patient has tested positive for COVID-19, further justifying the need not to stigmatize any patient needing emergency care and to treat each patient in a holding room for the emergency rather than transfer them to the main Isolation Unit where COVID-19 positive patients are being treated on admission.

Therefore, the reported insinuations are not only unfounded and false but done by faceless overzealous person(s) with divided loyalty, whose trade in stock is to sabotage the system and the good work of Government towards the management, treatment and control of COVID-19 patients and the pandemic.

SIGNED
Tayo Haastrup, PhD
Spokesperson, National Hospital, Abuja

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