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29 May 2020

NCDC cries out as rapid test kits black market

The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Thursday raised the alarm over increasing deaths caused by rejection of patients in the country’s hospitals.

Also at the press conference, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control Director General, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, raised the alarm over growing rapid test kits black market in the country.

According to him, some organisations are selling “what they call antibody tests.” He, therefore warned that such “antibody tests” could not give valid COVID-19 results.

Nigeria currently has 8,733 COVID-19 patients and 112 isolation centres in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory. There are 29 laboratories, where COVID-19 is being tested.

With COVID-19 cases rising to 8,733 on Wednesday, the task force warned that the government could not cope with increasing coronavirus cases.

We are recording more deaths over hospital’s refusal to treat patients, FG laments.

But on Thursday, Mustapha raised the alarm that more deaths were being recorded from non-coronavirus illnesses in the country.

It attributed this to the refusal of hospitals, including federal institutions, to treat patients for fear of COVID-19.

On Wednesday it was reported that a man, identified simply as Joel, lost his life after he was allegedly refused treatment by the Isolo General Hospital in Lagos State over fear of being a COVID-19 patient.

On May 6,it was also reported that a female artiste, Bertha Mary Okey, lamented how hospitals refused to treat her brother, Sylvester Okey, before he died.

Mustapha, at the presidential task force briefing, said, “The PTF has received rather sadly, reports of continued refusal by medical institutions to receive and treat patients for fear of COVID-19. This has resulted in several unfortunate and avoidable fatalities and statistics have shown that there is a drastic drop in the percentage of attention being paid to other ailments not related to COVID-19.

“This situation is made worse by the fact that federal tertiary institutions have been mentioned among those rejecting patients for fear of COVID-19. This is not acceptable. We are saddened by this development.

“The minister of health has reached out to all medical directors directing them to continue providing regular medical services so that we do not end up with avoidable deaths. Truth be told, we are having more deaths from non-attendance to other diseases than even COVID-19.”

The SGF urged all the chief medical directors and private health service providers to attend to other health challenges, which had continued to confront people on a daily basis.

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