…Hold FG responsible over doctor’s death- PDP
There are strong indications that about 30 persons have been placed on surveillance following the death a medical doctor and a child said to have died from diseases suspected to be Lassa fever.
The Medical Director, Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Umuahia, Abia State, Dr Abali Chiku, who spoke with journalists on Tuesday in Umuahia during a joint press conference with the state commissioner for health, Dr John Ahukanna, stated that the late Dr Chizorom Ndukwu, a resident doctor, was barely a month in the employment of FMC, Umuahia and died at the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, Irrua, in Edo State where she was taken for treatment.
Dr Chiku said, “The management of Federal Medical Centre Umuahia regrets to announce the death of her staff. She died of Lassa fever.”
The FMC MD added that the deceased was initially admitted at FMC in the course of her illness.
He stated the need to place persons who “came in contact with her (the deceased) in the course of her management” on close observation, but not all as some are not showing the same level of risk, pointing out that , “every possible contact whether patient or person will be identified, defined and put on surveillance, while the Mangement of the hospital has not been able to trace the contact point where the deceased contracted the virus.”
According to the MD, an 11-month old baby was brought from a private hospital on March 12 and died the following day after admission at FMC, adding that the death of the baby was being investigated as the baby was said to have been treated by the deceased doctor.
Dr. Chiku also disclosed that the patient was referred by a pediatrician from a private hospital but the baby was not tested for Lassa virus before she died, pointing out that it was yet not possible to pinpoint if the baby was the source of the Lassa virus that killed Dr Ndukwu as nobody has manifested any signs of the virus after 21 days incubation period which ended Tuesday since the baby died.
He said, “We are not looking at one direction so that you don’t put people’s lives at risk, and we may not get to know where the deceased doctor contracted the virus,” adding that medical doctors offer their services across various health facilities and not all hospitals fully observe the standard protocol on disease control.
Meanwhile, a team of experts from the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control has visited the FMC Umuahia to investigate and provide support to ensure that the disease is contained.
The FMC MD assured that the management of the federal health facility has taken every measure to contain the virus, noting that the protocol developed by the NCDC for the containment of Lassa fever was being fully implemented at the FMC Umuahia.
In his speech, the Abia State Commissioner for Health, Dr Ahukanna, described it as regrettable that Lassa fever has claimed a life in Abia after all efforts to keep the dreaded virus at bay, pointing out that though the apprehension created by the outbreak of Lassa fever in Abia was understandable, but “there is no reason to panic” as both the state ministry of health and NCDC have taken measures to contain the disease.
Dr Ahukanna advised Abians to “take concrete steps” by maintaining high level of personal and environmental hygiene and also keep rats at bay to ensure that the outbreak of Lassa fever did “not go beyond what we already have”.
Meanwhile. the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked Nigerians to hold President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) Federal Government directly responsible for the avoidable and painful death of Dr. Ndukwu Chizaram of the Federal Medical Center, Umuahia, Abia State.
The PDP said the promising and patriotic medical practitioner had to pay the supreme price over avoidable exposure to Lassa fever, because of the low premium the APC administration places on the lives of Nigerians and the health sector in particular.
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Tuesday, PDP described the failure of the APC Federal Government to provide medical personnel with the requisite equipment and facilities to effectively and safely discharge their duties as absolutely wicked, inhuman and the height of insensitivity.
The statement reads in part, “While we are deeply pained by this tragedy, we are very worried about the safety of our health personnel in Federal Government’s health facilities, following the established lack-lustre approach of the APC administration to health issues in Nigeria.
“It is indeed very sad that instead of addressing these health and sundry issues, APC leaders are frittering away our commonwealth on medical tourism in Europe while our hospitals had, in the last three years, sunk from the famed height attained under the PDP to mere consulting centers.
“PDP demands an unreserved pology from the APC and the Federal Government to the family of this doctor and the medical sector in general and urge them to come down from their high horse and take a cue from the PDP administration, in our effective handling of health challenges, particularly the Ebola outbreak and suppression of polio, among others.
The opposition party also condoles with the family of Dr. Chizaram as well as the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) over the untimely death of the medical doctor.