Medical doctors under the employ of Lagos State government on Monday said 16 of its members have tested positive for COVID-19.
The doctors, under the auspices of Medical Guild, at a Press conference said the members had been playing a critical role in the COVID-19 response by engaging in training, contact tracing and surveillance, enlightening of the public and providing clinical care at the isolation centres and the hospitals.
Chairman of the Guild, Dr. Oluwajimi Sodipo, said, “This has, unfortunately, led to several healthcare workers infected with COVID-19 and over 16 doctors isolated so far in the state workforce.
“There may be more doctors who are infected, but from the information available to us, 16 of our members are infected with COVID-19.”
Continuing, he said, “The current community transmission of COVID-19 has led to a situation where everyone can be designated as a COVID suspect, especially as there are asymptomatic patients as well as those with atypical symptoms.”
He, however, said the infected doctors “are doing fine and we don’t have any mortality among our members.”
Speaking on the recent relaxation of the lockdown in the state, Sodipo called for prompt and widespread testing of suspected cases.
“This should be in place so as to reduce exposure of healthcare workers and the populace, with results released within a maximum of 48 hours.
“Modalities for enforcement of the proposed guidelines for the good people of the state as announced by the state government should be followed.
“These include use of social distancing, use of face masks, having adequate hand washing and hand sanitizers in place with appropriate measures to checkmate defaulters.
“We do not support the use of gloves [because] if they are not changed regularly and hand hygiene practised as it should be, could lead to increased spread,” Sodipo noted.
The Guild also called for the provision of a post-lockdown surge in need for consumables, especially Personal Protective Equipment in the hospitals, with the attendant risk of increased infections and need for bed space.
“This will be worsened if the testing and contact tracing are not at maximum capacity to allow for early identification of cases, proper quarantine and isolation as appropriate.
“There is a need for a holistic review of the welfare package of health workers in the state, especially with the implementation of the agreement between healthcare workers and the Federal Government, which covers an initial period of three months, starting from April 2020.
“This agreement includes the payment of hazard allowance, health insurance, COVID-19 allowance and other issues.”
The Guild recommended that the testing capacity and contact tracing must be ramped up to allow for proper containment of the pandemic.
“This will assist for clinical decision making with reduction in spread among patients, healthcare workers and the population.
“The Lagos State government should start the process of dialogue and negotiation between the health workers and government with a mandate for implementation of the health workers agreement with special emphasis on health insurance, hazard allowance, COVID-19 allowance and other benefits.”
As it stands, Lagos leads the toll of Nigeria’s COVID-19 infections with 1,123 of the overall 2,558 cases.
So far, Lagos has discharged 247 patients, while two patients have been evacuated, 16 patients transferred and 30 deaths recorded.