Dr Ike Gregory, Medical Director, Shama Christian Hospital and Fertility Centre, Woji Estate in Port Harcourt, the fear of infection by Coronavirus, COVID-19, is hinde\ring patients from visiting hospitals.
Gregory, who directed Dr Akpan Itoro, one of the hospital’s personnel, to speak on behalf of the hospital management, told the News Agency of Nigeria, on Thursday that the outbreak of COVID-19 had reduced the inflow of patients into the hospital and affected its revenue generation.
“We have noticed that patients who had one health challenge or the other before this outbreak of coronavirus, have stopped coming for treatment; and health officers in other hospitals also confirmed the same thing.
“When patients who have health challenges call the hospital, they tell us that they cannot come to the facility because they do not want to risk being infected with the virus.
“We advise people with serious health challenges before the outbreak and those who have critical health issues to visit the hospital for proper treatment instead of risking complications by self-medication because we have taken steps to protect them.
NAN reports that the hospital has put in place safety measures in such as running water, soap and hand sanitizers for hand washing, as well as a screening thermometer at its entry point.
According to the medical director, patients who visit the hospital are screened before consulting a doctor.
He added that the few cases with temperature of more than 38.C, or with symptoms of the virus, were referred to Bright Memorial Hospital, BMH, and University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, UPTH, for further tests due to lack of COVID-19 testing kits in the hospital.
Gregory, however, said in spite of the low patronage and dwindling income, the hospital had not terminated the appointment of any member of staff, slashed or failed to pay salaries, though there had been a little delay in payment.
“We are not turning away patients because our duty is to treat anyone with health issues; but we have challenges in supply of some materials like hand gloves, face masks and drugs, due to high demand and high increase in prices,” he said.
He commended the federal and state governments for the proactive measures they had taken to curb the spread of COVID-19, and pleaded with government to provide front line health workers with necessary facilities for protection.
“We plead with the Federal Government to help hospitals get drugs at affordable prices to reduce the cost of treatment for patients, we also plead that government should find a better way of distributing palliatives to reach indigent Nigerians.
“We urge the public to the rules set by government to prevent the spread of coronavirus and report any suspected case to NCDC, State Health Emergency Management Agency and other relevant authorities to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.