Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Lagos has warned that treating suspected cases of COVID-19 cases in private facilities may worsen the spread of the disease.
In a statement signed by Saliu Oseni and Moronkola Ramon, Chairman and Secretary respectively, observed: “a disturbing trend in the private management of COVID-19 cases in private hospitals where capacity for infection control and surveillance may be limited.
“This action is likely to be the missing link to the worsening community transmission.”, noted the doctors.
According to the leaders of the medical doctors, the Association is concerned about a document from the State’s Health Facilities Accreditation and Management Agency (HEFAMAA) which, among other things, plan to accredit private hospitals for the management of COVID 19.
They noted that government might have begun to yield to the pressures from business concerns who may see this pandemic as a business opportunity rather than the public health emergency that it is.
Although the doctors acknowledged the expansion in the testing capacity in the state which has helped identify more cases and potential contact, they urged a scale up in the house-to-house testing introduced by LASG.
The NMA recommends that based on its cautious observation, there is basis for large scale community-based antibody testing to confirm the plausible hypothesis that there is ongoing active transmission but with mild course of disease.
“This hypothesis, if confirmed will shed light on the mode of transmission and the clinical categories of community dwellers who have recovered from the infection. It may also guide the decision on and the mode of re-opening the city for the needed economic activities”, they pointed out.
The doctors equally applauded the expansion in the number of isolation centres which it pointed out has given more room to accommodate positive cases.
They however decried shortage in availability of Personal Protective Equipment for the front line workers in public facilities who may accidentally come in contact with suspected cases.
They also raise concern over emergence of mild course of the Covid-19 infection in Lagos, and indeed in Nigeria.
This the doctors attribute to the limited available data of the course in the confirmed cases so far.
While warning against accrediting private facilities in the management of COVID-19 cases, they advises government to legislate and criminalize the act of resisting isolation by COVID-19 positive patients in public facilities.
They pointed out that such action has been implicated in jeopardizing the efforts of containment.
They urged that public isolation centres be made conducive for all calibres of patients