Despite the rising cases of coronavirus infections in Osun State, there is an acute shortage of necessary medical equipment, Personal Protective Equipment(PPE) to protect health workers in the state, DAILY POST reports.
Checks across all the 256 newly renovated Primary Health Centres in all the three senatorial districts in the state revealed that workers perform under palpable fear of being vulnerable to the ravaging pandemic.
Recall that the government accessed $20m from the World Health Organisation (WHO) about two years ago to strengthen health care delivery in the state, but analysts in the state have accused the Oyetola-led administration of diverting the funds, leaving health facilities in the state in total jeopardy.
Some health workers across the state, who spoke with our correspondent on the condition of anonymity said that since the time the index case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Osun on March 24, only two hand sanitizers, and one Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and few pieces of face masks were provided for the PHCs across the state.
Further findings reveal that Primary Healthcare Centres also lack the necessary staff.
Some of the workers who confided in our Correspondent added that there is inadequate manpower in all the centres, adding that the state has not recruited in the sector for the past two years.
Some vocal centres among the PHCs have only three workers to attend to the patients and also expected to work overnight.
Despite the announcement by the government on the rampant community transmission of coronavirus, which led to the total lockdown of four local government areas on July 7, the healthcare centres, still, have not received any protective kits.
Notwithstanding, the government said that the condition that necessitated precision lockdown – community transmission – is still active in the areas.
Findings show that some centres have used and disposed of the only PPEs provided by the government while some centres re-wash the protective kits, a practice against the established protocol of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
According to health workers, “Government only provided two hand sanitizers, and two packs on nose mask which we distributed among all the centres in this ward. Meanwhile, we purchased the water tank bucket that is placed outside.
“We can’t examine a patient at a distance, we are being exposed. Though, the government tried their best.” the health worker added.
Another health worker while recounting one of her experience told our correspondent that, “ I had to lay myself under hot weather and gulped hot water when a patient during this pandemic unbridled coughed on me. I lost control immediately, I had to isolate myself from my family. I won’t need to go through those experiences if the government provided PPE for us.”
At a vocal healthcare centre in Osogbo, a senior nurse lamented that “ Ever since the pandemic in the state, the government provided two hand sanitizers, eight pieces of nose mask for all the workers and one PPE. Those things were just provided around May and nothing since then.
All efforts to confirm the accusation from the State Chairman of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Edward Komolafe proved abortive, as he didn’t pick his calls nor reply to the text message sent to him.
Speaking with the State Commissioner for Health, Rafiu Isamitu, he asserted that the state didn’t manage COVID-19 at Primary Healthcare centre.
According to him, there are 332 vocal healthcare centres around the wards in Osun, which the state did not have resources to provide the protective kits for all.
“We have 886 functional health centres and 332 vocal health centres, we don’t have the resource to provide those kits for them. We have designated centres where we manage COVID-19. How do we give PPE – the expensive material – to centres where we will not be seeing, coronavirus patients.
“We made it known to them that you are not to manage COVID-19. If you see anything suspicious, refer them to General Hospital.
While reacting to the issue of inadequate manpower, he confirmed that the state is currently experiencing a shortage of manpower, he added that in March, the state concluded plans to recruit for the sector adding that the state has some ad-hoc staff to help the health workers.
“Mr. Governor had told me to bring the memo for the recruitment of personnel in the sector around March during our last physical meeting before we start the virtual meeting. But we couldn’t do it because of COVID-19.