COVID-19: Doctors, nurses demand life insurance as cases hit 318

The Nigerian Medical Association, the National Association of Resident Doctors and the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives have again called on the government, in the light of the increasing spread and casualties arising from the coronavirus disease, to immediately put in place life insurance policy for their members across the country.
This, they said, would further motivate their members on the front line of tackling the raging disease, given the hazards they are exposed to on duty.
In Nigeria, as of Saturday, a doctor had died as a result of the disease, two doctors in Edo State had also tested positive for the virus, while about 25 doctors, comprising house officers, resident doctors and a consultant had been in self-isolation after coming in contact with COVID-19 patients.
Similarly, in Lagos, the Chief Medical Director, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Prof Adetokunbo Fabamwo, on Saturday said four nurses in the hospital had been placed in isolation after they had contact with a patient who died of the virus. He, however, said all the doctors took precaution when attending to the patient.
He added, “When the woman (patient) was about to die, and was gasping for breath, the nurses rushed to her and tried to do pulmonary resuscitation on her.
“They moved more closely to her. Though they were protected, we felt that because of that closeness, we should isolate them so that they won’t go home and be a risk to their families.”
Also, the number of confirmed cases in the country rose to 318, following 13 new cases detected on Saturday.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control via its Twitter handle, @NCDCgov, tweeted, “13 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported; 11 in Lagos, one in Delta and one in Kano.
“As of 9:30pm 11th April there are 318 confirmed cases of COVID19 reported in Nigeria. 70 have been discharged with 10 deaths. There are 19 states with confirmed cases in Nigeria.”
Across the world, 1,761,286 cases had been recorded, out of which 107,659 persons had died and 395,665 had recovered.
Meanwhile, the heads of the three medical associations, who spoke on behalf of their members, said though the Federal Government had consistently muted the idea of life insurance for health workers, the implementation was belated. They noted however that there was no better time to put the policy in place than now.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, said in Abuja on Thursday that government “would be engaging with the insurance industry to package special health care insurance, which is life insurance, for health workers.”
She added, “The Federal Government recognises the patriotism and sacrifice of our front line health care workers, whose critical roles in combating the COVID-19 pandemic place their health and lives at risk.”
Prior to this, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, said on April 3 that government was making efforts to provide medical and life insurance cover for the health workers battling the virus.
He had said, “In recognition of the danger to which our front line health workers are exposed, the government is working with other stakeholders to structure medical and life insurance cover for their protection. I, therefore, wish to assure them of our commitment and urge them to put in their utmost best as they battle to save us from this ravaging disease.”
The task force had further emphasised the need to see to the welfare of the health workers when it said on Wednesday that it did not want to lose the confidence of the health workers, noting that if that happened, they (government) would lose the response in containing the virus.
The Director General, NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, said, “We acknowledge the roles the health workers are playing particularly during this pandemic. No one is more at risk than those who have the closest contact with our patients and those really are the health care workers, particularly our nurses.
“Health care workers are our absolute priority, if we lose their confidence, we will lose the response. So, whatever we are doing, we focus on making sure that our health care workers feel comfortably supported.”
Even though health is not the exclusive responsibility of the Federal Government – states and local governments also have responsibilities at different levels in terms of infrastructure and welfare of personnel – the NCDC, a federal agency, has been coordinating the response to the virus.

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