The Guild of Medical Directors (GMD) has declared that all patients who visit any private facility nationwide would be considered COVID-19 positive until proved negative.
In addition, patients will be required to comply with protocols, which include temperature check, compulsory hand washing before consultation, use of hand sanitisers and possible temporary isolation.
This follows the recent exposure of some medical doctors to the virus by patients, who failed to disclose their true travel history.
More so, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), as at 10:40 a.m., Saturday, April 18, has announced 49 new cases of COVID-19 in the country, bringing the number of confirmed cases to 542, with 19 deaths and 166 persons discharged.
According to the breakdown, Lagos has 306, FCT- 81, Kano- 37, Osun- 20, Oyo- 16, Edo- 15, Ogun- 12, Kwara- 9, Katsina- 9, Bauchi- 6, Kaduna- 6, Akwa Ibom- 6, Delta- 4, Ekiti- 3, Ondo- 3, Enugu- 2, Rivers-2, Niger- 2, Benue- 1, and Anambra- 1.
GMD President Prof. Femi Dokun-Babalola, in a statement, regretted that three of their members had died, not because they wanted to treat COVID-19 patients as speculated but because they inevitably came across the sick persons.
Dokun-Babalolaalso appealed to the Federal Ministry of Health to assist private hospitals with protective kits, noting that COVID-19 crisis does not mean other illnesses have ceased to exist.
He faulted the Federal Government for allegedly creating the impression that private medical practitioners knowingly treat COVID-19 patients for financial reward.
“The impression that private hospitals in Nigeria are keen to treat patients with COVID-19 infection, perhaps for monetary gain, must be dispelled. Permit me to mention that three of our colleagues have already died. Dr. AliyuYakubu, proprietor of Daura Clinics and Medical Centre in Katsina State, Dr. Dominic Essien of San Dominic Hospital in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State and Dr. Emeka Chugbo, a well renowned obstetrician who died recently in Lagos.
“The death of Dr. Chugbo is perhaps illustrative of the dilemma faced by private practitioners in Nigeria. He was an obstetrician who carried out a Cesarean Section on a COVID-19 patient and he had no idea the patient was positive. It is clear he would not have undertaken the operation if he had that knowledge.
“At the same time, the patient in question did not display any signs or symptoms suggestive of COVID-19. To Dr. Chugbo, she was just a pregnant patient in distressed labour. The facts of her infection only became known after the surgery was carried out at which point the infection had been passed to our demised colleague.”
Meanwhile, the presidency has directed all State House correspondents and media office staff who covered the burial of the late Chief of Staff Abba Kyari to keep away from the Presidential Villa.
This was contained in a release ,Sunday, signed by Attah Esa, a deputy director of information.
The release directed reporters to work from home for the next 14 days.
Kyari who was buried on Saturday was the most high-profile Nigerian to die of COVID-19.
The presidency further urged the reporters to be careful and observe the measures recommended for preventing the spread of virus.