The Federal Government of Nigeria has converted all government-owned hospitals in Abuja to COVID-19 sample collection centres.
Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire made this revelation on Thursday at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
According to the minister, it is one of the measures put in place to address the situation whereby very sick persons are being rejected at hospitals, which has caused the death of many Nigerians.
The minister regretted the death of many Nigerians, who died outside the hospital or on their way after being rejected in one or more hospitals, describing this development as unacceptable.
His words: “Over the last few days, I have also received reports of very sick persons being rejected at our hospitals. Many have died outside or on the way, having been denied attention in more than one hospital. It is not acceptable that persons lose their lives to health conditions which could possibly have been cured, or may not even have been COVID related.
“It is to address this subject that, the Hon Minister of FCT and I had a meeting today with the Medical Directors of both Federal and FCT government hospitals in the FCT catchment area, where it was emphasised that no patient be denied treatment or rejected and that all health workers will be trained and retrained on infection prevention and control and issued PPEs and materials required for discharge of their duties.
“In addition to this, all government hospitals in FCT will become COVID-19 sample collection sites, so that walk-in cases can have samples taken to be forwarded to NCDC for testing. This assures users and caregivers of reduced bottlenecks and improved efficiency in our response. We intend to scale this up to other states of the Federation,” he said.
The minister also pointed out that COVID-19 statistics are expected to rise further with improved testing, adding that it is a sign that COVID-19 is actually expanding faster than our systems are handing it.