In response to the death of the nurse who contacted the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Lagos, a former National Deputy President of the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Mr. Olufemi Rasheed Tonade, has said nurses are not ready to sign a death warrant, adding that no hospital in Nigeria is ready to handle Ebola cases. Tonade lamented that there is shortage of equipment to tackle the disease and called on the Federal Government to be more proactive in its approach.
“As leaders in the sector, we will not allow government deceive anybody that they have equipment. We have concluded that we are not going to sign a death warrant. We believe that if government cannot resolve basic health needs, how can it tackle the Ebola virus, which is a very serious health hazard that has shut down the whole Liberia and about to shut down other West African countries.” he said.
According to reports from This Day, he described the death of the nurse as quite unfortunate, pathetic and painful, saying that the death brings to the fore what the association “is saying about our governments and the health system. It is quite unfortunate that the Nigerian government has not addressed basic needs in the health system.”
“Our problem is that we don’t get our priorities right. Ebola is deadly and cannot be politicised, it should be addressed with all seriousness by any serious government. We have told all our members that Ebola is deadly and that no hospital in Nigeria is prepared to handle the virus.
They should not politicise it to say they have protective equipment. It is no longer preventive in Nigeria rather it is now curative approach. The American government just tested a drug. All they need do is to treat Ebola decisively and tackle it headlong,” Tonade said. He said the association is trying to identify the matron that died, and whether she was in the private or public health sector, adding that no amount of money can be given to anyone to say he or she should come and treat Ebola patients.
“Nothing is working in Nigeria, the insurance industry is not effective in Nigeria, and the government insurance scheme cannot be likened to you having a third party insurance on your car. You know with third party insurance, you do not expect anything when your car gets damaged. We do not believe in government’s life insurance,” he added. He agreed however that the country has the manpower—the doctors and nurses, but lacked the facilities, the reason “why we have resisted them bringing Ebola patients to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) because we do not have the facilities there. What will government give that could be compared to the life of a doctor, nurse, pharmacist and other health professionals. Let us tackle the disease headlong.
“Let government bring in the drugs that the Americans are currently using for their people. Yes, we have quarantined some health officials, but we need serious commitment on the part of government.”