Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, has told Nigerians to report to the Ministry of Health any doctor who fails to treat them for any other ailment due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Nigerians have complained bitterly about how they have been treated by doctors and hospitals since the COVD-19 pandemic started.
Ehanire while speaking at the daily briefing of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID19 today June 11, said it is unethical and unacceptable for doctors to refuse to treat patients with other ailments. He asked Nigerians to report such doctors to the Ministry of Health and other bodies of authority.
“It is unethical to reject patients who come to the hospital for treatment. I have said here repeatedly that every person who comes to the hospital must be seen and attended to and at least, be given advice on what to do.
If you can’t do it, advise him on where to go or call transport for him; but to just say go, we don’t handle that is not ethical, and it is not acceptable. So, if that happens anywhere, you have the authority to write to the board of that hospital and lay complain. Or you can also write to the ministry of health, or you can write to the state ministry of health if it is a state-owned hospital.
If it is a private hospital, you can write to the medical director or if they have a management board, you can write there to express yourself. This is very important.
So, we do receive cases or complaints like that and we have always followed them up and in cases where it is proven that there is an infringement on the duties of the Doctor it is referred to the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria and it is well known that they have gone to as far as withdrawing licenses of doctors for cases of very serious medical misbehaviour.” he said
While speaking at the briefing, the Minister said that there are suspicions that a new strain of Coronavirus is in the country. He said although not confirmed, it is suspected the new strain of the novel Coronavirus may be as a result of mutation, probably from people who recently returned from other countries. He said Nigerian researchers are currently carrying out research to determine if there is a new strain of the virus in the country.
“As for the strain of COVID-19, yes, when Nigerians were coming back in batches from different countries – US, Saudi Arabia, Europe, China, the question did arise and some of them tested positive for COVID-19.
The question did arise about whether the strain of COVID-19 they have is the same one that was known. The National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) did a genome sequencing of the virus of the index case that came long ago; this is the first in Africa.
It was confirmed to be the same strain as what was circulating in Italy and China. So, we raised the question whether there has been mutation since then in people coming from other areas.
I don’t have any information on that yet, but it is suspected that it is possible. It is not yet updated but I’m sure that research centres in Yaba, Lagos and the one in Ede, are trying to do a sequencing that will show us whether all these viruses are the same or whether they have a different sequencing” he said
When asked for an update on the Madagascar COVID-19 herb brought into the country in May, the Minister said it is still being examined and no feedback yet from the agencies where it is being examined.
“With regards to Madagascar’s herb, we do not have any information yet. We have given them to our research centres and they are working on them. None of them has reported back yet. The time it will take for all these researches is not what we know, but I think after a period, I will reach out to them to find out if they can give me an interim report” he said.