Nigerian govt blames high death rate on COVID-19 fears

Nigerian govt blames high death rate on COVID-19 fears

- The federal government has expressed concern that the rising cases of deaths in the country are due to hospitals rejecting patients

- The government also said some Nigerians have developed a phobia for hospitals due to COVID-19

- The authorities expressed hope that the easing of the lockdown will address the issue

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The federal government has said there might have been a rise in the number of deaths not associated with coronavirus since the outbreak of the viral disease in the country.

The minister of health, Dr Osagie Enahire, made this known on Friday, May 15 at the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja.

He said many of the deaths could be attributable to the phobia some Nigerians have developed for hospitals where they are supposed to receive qualitative care for fear that they might be diagnosed with COVID-19.

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Nigerian govt blames high death rate on COVID-19 fears

The minister blamed the high death rate on COVID-19 fears. Photo credit: Secured Health International
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There is also a concern that many health workers are now reluctant to attend to patients for fear that they might have contracted the virus.

According to him, antenatal, immunization, out-patient visits and skilled birth attendants have all dropped by more than half.

His words: “There has been some reduction in routine health cases because of fear of COVID-19.

“As a result of that, we do worry that some deaths may have occurred not directly in connection with the coronavirus.

“If a person couldn’t go to get help in a hospital because of the fear of coronavirus or doctors refusing to attend to such persons.

“Latest statistics from the National Health Management Information System (NHMIS) indicates that out-patient visits dropped from 4 million to about 2 million; antenatal visits from 1.3 million to 655,000; skilled birth attendance from 158,374 to less than 99,000, while immunization services dropped to about half.

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“All these have as yet undetermined consequences which the easing of the lockdown should hopefully address.”

On the rising cases of unexplained deaths in some northern states, the minister said the situation in Kano has largely stabilised.

He said the progress made is due to the good relationship between the visiting federal task force team and the Kano state task force on COVID-19.

He further revealed that a federal ministry of health team has been assembled to proceed to Sokoto and Borno states on fact-finding and support missions to engage with state authorities and determine material and technical needs.

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Meanwhile, a former governor of Anambra state, Mr Peter Obi, has shared relief materials worth millions of naira to two hospitals in Abia and Imo states.

While delivering the items via his aides, Obi encouraged the hospitals and their health workers to continue to give their best in delivering good health to the public, especially in this time of the global pandemic.

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