If you tell an average Nigerian that our country’s healthcare system ranks 187th out of 192 countries he or she will not be surprised.
Evidences of our shambles of a health system abound everywhere you look.
Even our leaders who have the mandate to change the sordid state of affairs in our social sectors such as education and health spend our money to treat themselves in hospitals abroad and educate their children outside the country.
Due to this neglect the frustrated healthcare workers have lost their sense of empathy, etiquette and care towards their patients and routinely subject them to callous and inhuman treatment.
This is more pronounced in our public health facilities.
The same situation has reared its ugly head with the coronavirus pandemic as thousands of infected Nigerians have been forced to relocate to government isolation centres. Over the past two weeks the situation boiled over in Gombe and Kano states.
In Gombe, scores of patients of the Kwadon isolation facility in Yamaltu Deba Local Government Area broke bounds on May 4 and went on street protests for being unattended to and poorly fed by health officials.
They were joined by members of the community which increased the risk of infection spread.
On Tuesday, May 12, 2020, isolation patients at Kwanar Dawakin in Kano rounded up and detained doctors and nurses on ward round for hours also for alleged abandonment.
Patients went for days without food and drugs. Some patients said they had been in the centre for upward of two weeks without medical attention, thus raising the risk of possible avoidable deaths.
It is unfortunate that patients had to take these desperate and dangerous measures to draw attention to their plights.
Indeed, their aim was achieved in that the Gombe State House of Assembly instituted a probe into the COVID-19 patients’ protest.
It is the height of wickedness to force people to government isolation centres without making adequate arrangements to feed them and give them the needed medical attention. This is doubling the state of anxiety and distress of the patients who need all the succour they can get in order to survive.
It is this neglect and lack of human feelings by government employees at the various care centres that have prompted some patients to abscond and put others at risk.
The neglect might also be connected to government’s inadequate responses to the need to provide the funds, equipment and trained personnel to adequately fight the disease at the care centres.
Governments must consider the war against the coronavirus pandemic as the absolute priority of the moment and channel resources in that direction.
We must eliminate any further tensions in our care centres.