COVID-19: How health workers put their lives on line to save Nigerians
“I don’t have an idea of the number of doctors that have been affected by COVID-19, but I am one of those that have been affected,” he said. In fact, the three index cases of COVID-19 in the state were health workers. One of them, Dr Otobong Asuquo, an obstetrician and gynaecologist was infected during a free medical outreach programme in the state he participated in
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Tomi Coker, said that a dedicated team of doctors, midwives and other health workers took the safe delivery of the mother, who was asymptomatic.
Daily Trust reports that no less than 98 medical workers were infected by the coronavirus out of which three deaths were recorded in the state.
Of the 98, 12 of them are doctors, while others are nurses and other categories of health workers.
Dr Usman Yelwa, a medical doctor with Jama’atul Nasril Islam Muslim Hospital located in Tudun Wada, Kaduna South Local Government area of Kaduna state is seen as a hero by residents of Tudun Wada. He helped patients and the community during the pandemic by paying home visits to check on their health and educating residents on the dangers and preventive measures of the virus.
Our correspondent reports that for many patients in Kaduna State, the COVID-19 pandemic had made them have a phobia for hospitals and so many had stayed away for fear that the hospitals could be breeding grounds for the virus.
Dr Yelwa also visited the physically challenged and other less privileged within his immediate community to treat and educate them on the dangers of COVID-19 and its preventive measures.
“What gave me the courage to work during the pandemic was the passion I have for the job. I believe this is my calling; I became a doctor because I wanted to assist the less privilege. So when I realised that most of my patients were scared of coming to the hospital because of the virus, I decided to visit their homes to treat them. From there, I started to visit certain locations to find disabled people just to check on how they were coping and educate them on the virus,” he said.
Though many people within his community had doubts about the existence of the virus and claimed it was a political stunt, Dr. Yelwa was undeterred as he assembled and sensitised the people around Tudun Wada about the virus.
Asked if he was scared for his life during the period, Dr. Yelwa said: “Of course, I was but that didn’t discourage me because it is my job. I also knew everyone was scared at that time and people needed someone to encourage and educate them on how to protect themselves by following all the guidelines.”
Since the fight against COVID-19 began, health workers in Akwa Ibom State have contributed in various ways to help stem the spread of the disease.
Professional associations like the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) have donated Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) like face masks and hand sanitizers to hospitals and the public as well as embarked on street sensitisation/awareness programmes on the disease.
At the peak of the fight, the then Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in the state, Dr Nsikak Nyoyoko, said the union was at the forefront with the government in the fight against the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in the state, particularly among health workers.
“I don’t have an idea of the number of doctors that have been affected by COVID-19, but I am one of those that have been affected,” he said.
In fact, the three index cases of COVID-19 in the state were health workers. One of them, Dr Otobong Asuquo, an obstetrician and gynaecologist was infected during a free medical outreach programme in the state he participated in.
However, he was not deterred because when he was certified free of the disease, he just went back to work.
In their bid to make meaningful contribution towards the fight against coronavirus and other infectious diseases in Plateau state and the country, the trio of Williams Gyang, Nura Jibrin, and Adebolajo Sunday, built an Automated Disease Control System in Jos.
The system is built in three categories that perform almost similar functions of ensuring prevention against infectious disease.
Prior to the recent invention of the automated machines, Gyang and Jibrin were on April 3, this year, celebrated as heroes across Nigeria after they volunteered and fixed some broken ventilators at the Jos University Teaching Hospital at no cost. They said they did it to save lives in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Their contribution to repair the two broken machines had saved the hospital millions of naira.
Mr. Gyang, leader of the team said “Governments at various levels are spending huge amounts of money to fumigate places. They also spend money on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to ensure protection against the disease, “he said. “At that time, even with the ventilators, we realised that the spread of COVID-19 was in the increase and the available ventilators in the country, are not sufficient compare to the population of the country.”
He said for that reason, they came up with an idea of inventing the machine that would nip in the bud the spread of the disease.
Credit for the success story in the fight against COVID-19 in Kano is a result of the collective efforts of different personalities entrusted with responsibilities towards curtailing the menace of the pandemic in the state.
However, coordination of these activities and their execution by health workers in both isolation facilities and laboratories were made possible through resources generated by the fundraising committee headed by the former Vice-Chancellor of Bayero University, Professor Muhammad Yahuza Bello.
The Prof Bello led-committee brought about many interventions from corporate bodies and private individuals that saw to the establishment of critical facilities needed to contain the pandemic in the state.
The committee also played a vital role in the procurement and distribution of palliatives to the vulnerable households during the COVID-19 lockdown which helped a great deal in limiting the rate of community transmission of the disease.
Professor Bello was appointed by the Kano State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje as the Chairman of Fund Raising Committee for COVID-19 in Kano State late March.