Rising cases of Coronavirus forces FG to allow Private Hospitals treat Covid-19 patients

Dr. Osagie Ehanire, the Minister of Health on Tuesday disclosed that accreditation to treat Covid-19 patients had been given to more private hospitals in Lagos and other parts of the country.

This development becomes inevitable as a result of rising cases of Coronavirus infection and the inability of the government facilities to cope with the present situation, forcing government to make u-turn by giving more private hospitals greenlight to treat Covid-19 patients.

This is coming days after government barred private hospitals from treating Covid-19 patients and a clear modification of government position after the demise of Mallam Abba Kyari, Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari who died at a private hospital in Lagos of Coronavirus complications on April 17.

According to reliable sources and verified figures, the number of positive cases of the deadly virus had inched near 5,000 and this has made the government to be worried about the shortage of bed spaces at the treatment isolation centres.

Speaking at the daily briefing by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 control in Abuja, Ehanire said besides the accreditation already given out, teams had been despatched to mant parts of the country to assess private hospitals for the purpose of allowing them to treat patients should they meet the protocols as developed by the PTF.

Dr. Ehanire said: “We have developed a protocol for accreditation. They have been given to many of the states. Special teams have been sent out to help. The team that was sent to Kano has already visited about four states in the North to help set up the accreditation.

Government hospitals and teaching hospitals have been examined and accredited and some state hospitals as well. Private hospitals, some in Lagos have been accredited but I can’t give you the exact number. But they have been accredited by the teams sent to the states.”

Although he did not release the guidelines which the private hospitals must meet to be given the signal to treat patients, he had last month said: “If you as a private hospital want to run a treatment centre for Coronavirus, you have to show first of all that you have the staff; a doctor who must be an infectious disease specialist and nurses and even cleaners who are trained in infection prevention protocol. The operations are different from what obtains in other hospitals.”

Ehanire said there has been “no new infections of health workers reported in recent times, as those who have recovered are awaiting certification to resume work. I can’t give you a direct number and they are not all in one place. So, I can’t give you a count if you are asking how many.”

He urged the organs of state maintaining vigilance at the borders, including the Port Health Services, to keep up the good work and not to relent.

About 150 health workers have so far been infected by the virus, according to the President of the Nigerian Medical Association, Dr. Francis Faduyile.

Dr. Ehanire said: “The FMoH has been closely monitoring and reviewing the unfolding situation in some states, where covid19 appears to have gained ground. We had responded to the situation in Kano by dispatching a team of medical experts to provide technical support to the Ministry of Health in the states.

“I am happy to inform that the team has done well in their assignment and has reported a lot of success in helping to stabilise the state’s health system and assuage the disquiet among health workers, who are to restart routine service delivery.”

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