Coronavirus: How vulnerable are health workers in Nigeria?

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A Nigerian man being tested for coronavirusPicture copyright
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Medical doctors in Nigeria’s public hospitals have gone on strike over what they see as insufficient protecting gear and pay, with an exemption for coronavirus therapy centres.

Well being Minister Dr Osagie Ehanire, nonetheless, says the problem of private protecting gear (PPE) has been “handled” and is “off the desk”.

So how uncovered are Nigeria’s well being staff?

The Nationwide Affiliation of Resident Medical doctors (NARD) has raised issues in regards to the variety of infections and deaths amongst well being staff.

It says 10 medical doctors have died.

Former NARD president Dr Olusegun Olaopa stated: “We’ve misplaced fairly a lot of medical doctors to this pandemic.”

Healthcare staff who’ve had Covid-19

Extra well being staff have examined optimistic for coronavirus in Nigeria than in every other nation within the continent, besides South Africa.

However they signify solely 6% of all reported circumstances within the nation, whereas in neighbouring Niger that determine is 19% – the very best in Africa.

Liberia and Sierra Leone have the following highest charges, with about 12% of whole circumstances.

However these different West African nations all have a lot decrease total numbers of infections than their a lot bigger regional neighbour, Nigeria.

Well being staff as a share of all coronavirus circumstances

And completely different approaches to testing and the recording of circumstances make nation comparisons tough.

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Though, the World Well being Group (WHO) says well being staff throughout the continent have been considerably affected by Covid-19.

Many nations around the globe have struggled to offer sufficient protecting gear for healthcare staff.

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The scarcity is especially acute in poorer nations, based on the Heart for World Improvement (CGD).

And there’s explicit concern in Nigeria, as many consider the extent of the virus will not be absolutely identified.

In northern Kano state, for instance, there have been quite a few reviews of deaths suspected to be linked to coronanvirus however no testing.

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Public hospitals in Nigeria have lengthy been underfunded

Nigeria’s public healthcare system has lengthy been underfunded, and there are frequent strikes over pay and dealing situations.

The federal government spends about 4% of its annual price range on well being, based on figures for the 2020 price range.

In 2001, African Union members pledged to spend 15% of their budgets on well being.

However the Nigerian authorities has additionally just lately proposed a 43% reduce to major healthcare companies, within the context of an economic system affected by the coronavirus lockdown and low world oil costs.

“There are only a few hospital beds per particular person and the general public hospitals are very underfunded and subsequently they aren’t efficient,” says Onyeka Onwuegbunam, a Nigerian well being knowledgeable at College Faculty London.

“The first healthcare system (native medical doctors and pharmacies) will not be working – and what we have now is secondary and tertiary healthcare (hospitals and specialised centres) that are carrying the load.”

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