The Health Writers Association of Nigeria has called on government to increase the number of testing centres for Coronavirus across the country, which are currently inadequate.
HEWAN in a statement on Wednesday signed by its President, Chioma Obinna, and Secretary, Lucy Osuizigbo-Okechukwu, also urged government at all levels to continue funding research efforts in a bid to finding a vaccine and viable treatment solution to the virus.
The statement reads, “With the rate at which cases are rising in Nigeria, there could be more individuals infected with the virus if appropriate measures are not taken to limit the spread in states and within the healthcare delivery system.
“Our healthcare system is further threatened by the call by United States Government asking medical professionals seeking to work in America to apply for work visa at the nearest US embassy as part of measures to strengthen the health system to contain the Coronavirus pandemic in America.
“Considering how Nigerian-trained health workers leave the country in droves owing to poor welfare and working conditions, the country cannot afford to lose any of its health personnel to foreign nations at this critical time when they are needed most.
“We strongly advocate that the Federal Government institute attractive welfare package and health insurance cover for health workers combating COVID-19 in the country. The welfare package must be well defined and spelt out in line with global standards.
“To have a fighting chance against COVID-19 and in treating those requiring intensive care, government must invest adequately in the health sector to ensure that health workers are properly equipped with personal protective equipment such as gloves, masks, ventilator equipment, IV saline, and other medically critical supplies to ensure they can safely and appropriately care for patients with Covid-19.
“HEWAN also want the government to increase the number of testing centres across the country which are currently inadequate and mobilise human and material resources at its disposal to immediately stop the spread of the virus before it becomes too late as WHO had warned.
“We demand that all funds raised for the Coronavirus fight should be judiciously used and also accounted for.
“Research effort is vital if Nigeria wants to end this pandemic and prevent future tragedies.
“Therefore, we urge government at all levels to fund continued research efforts for vaccines, treatments and diagnostics.
“We call on Nigerians to follow the guidelines provided by the government, World Health Organisation and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control on preventive and protective measures against the pandemic.”