The Federal Government has warned medical doctors not to turn back patients without examining them as well as giving them professional advice.
The minister for health, Osagie Ehanire who handed down the warning on Thursday June 11, said doctors who engage in such unprofessional conduct would be reported to the Nigeria Medical and Dental Council, and if found guilty would have their licenses withdrawn.
He advised anyone who is rejected at any hospital or medical facility to write and complain to the board of such hospital, the federal ministry of health, or the state ministry of health in case of state hospitals.
He said: “It is unethical to reject patients who come to the hospital for treatment. I have said here repeatedly that every person who comes to the hospital must be seen and attended to and at least, be given advice on what to do.
“If you can’t do it, advise him on where to go or call transport for him; but to just say go, we don’t handle that is not ethical, and it is not acceptable. So, if that happens anywhere, you have the authority to write to the board of that hospital and lay complain. Or you can also write to the ministry of health, or you can write to the state ministry of health if it is a state-owned hospital.
“If it is a private hospital, you can write to the medical director or if they have a management board, you can write there to express yourself. This is very important.“So, we do receive cases or complaints like that and we have always followed them up and in cases where it is proven that there is an infringement on the duties of the Doctor it is referred to the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria and it is well known that they have gone to as far as withdrawing licenses of doctors for cases of very serious medical misbehaviour.”
The minister pointed out that 61% of COVID-19 patients in the country were asymptomatic, while 39% were symptomatic.
He therefore said’ “In Nigeria, the proportion of confirmed cases that are symptomatic compared to asymptomatic is 39% and 61% respectively, which means that if 10 persons are able to infect you with COVID19, four of them will look very well indeed. Another three or four will have mild symptoms that can be trivialized, even by healthcare workers, which may explain the initial relatively high rate of infection among them.”