More deaths are being recorded in patients with other ailments because medical institutions in the country are refusing to handle cases because of fear of contracting coronavirus, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on the pandemic has observed.
Chairman of the task force and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, who said this at its briefing in Abuja on Thursday, expressed regrets that government tertiary medical institutions are also guilty of it.
He said the Federal Ministry of Health has, therefore, reached out to medical directors and directed them to continue to offer medical attention to prevent avoidable deaths.
The chairman 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 has 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. This not acceptable. We are saddened by this development.
“The Minister of Health has reached at to all medical directors, asking 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
“The reason for the greater emphasis on COVID-19 is because it is a pandemic and if not curtailed, has a capacity of wiping out large segments of our population.
“The PTF also urge all the chief medical directors and private health service providers to attend to other health challenges, which continue to confront our people on a daily basis. Of course, the guidelines for dealing with patients presenting COVID 19 like symptoms are available and if these are applied by our medical service providers, there would be lesser risks of exposure to the virus.”