The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has said that the looting of medical equipment and burning of hospitals that attended the recent #EndSARS protests in some parts of the country can endanger the health of Nigerians. The NMA President, Prof Innocent Ujah, stated this in a statement made available to newsmen on Monday in Abuja. Ujah said that, in the last one week, the association had been disturbed by the series of attacks on health facilities by the hoodlums seeking COVID-19 palliatives.
This, he said, ranged from burning of hospitals and clinics to looting and vandalism of medical and hospital supplies, consumables and vaccines. Ujah said that the NMA, as the leader of the health team, condemned, in unequivocal terms, the ‘barbaric, primitive and wanton destruction of hospital facilities’.
He stated that the incident could have `irredeemable negative impact’ on the health system, adding one of the immediate effects of the development was the danger the public was being exposed to. “The unfortunate action of the hoodlums can further weaken the delivery of health services, as Nigeria continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in an already near-comatose health system.
“It will certainly be a setback on our country’s desire to achieve the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” the NMA president said. Ujah, therefore, called on those in the custody of medicament and hospital equipment to return them forthwith, either for usage or destruction after professional examination, as some of them could be harmful to the human body.
He said that the vaccines carted away were meant to prevent diseases, adding, however, that the action of the hoodlums could lead to a resurgence of vaccine-preventable childhood diseases.
“We, therefore, urge all those in the custody of these vaccines to return them to the health facilities for revalidation for possible use or destruction.
“No form of attack on any health facility and hospital personnel is tolerated in any civilised society.
“NMA feels very embarrassed and disappointed that health workers, facilities and equipment were neither secured nor protected by security agencies to forestall nationwide looting and vandalism of government and private property,” he said.
Ujah said that the association was also shocked with the magnitude of looting and vandalism of health facilities, hospital equipment, vaccines, drugs and consumables as well as assaults on its members. He particularly decried the attacks on medical doctors in the line of duty in Lagos, Ebonyi, Delta, Edo, Cross River, Kaduna, Nasarawa and Ekiti states by the hoodlums.