Doctors treating COVID-19 patients in Abuja haven’t been paid for 3 months [Pulse Exclusive]
Patients at some isolation centers in Abuja now fear for their lives; as they have been left at the mercy of grumbling, unpaid doctors.
Doctors and healthcare workers tending to novel coronavirus (COVID-19) patients in a couple of isolation centers in the nation’s capital city of Abuja, haven’t been paid for three months, Pulse can exclusively report.
A COVID-19 positive patient who was admitted to the Idu isolation center in Abuja recently, tells Pulse that she and other patients at the health facility now fear for their lives, because they have been left at the mercy of owed doctors and healthcare workers who are no longer putting in their best at work.
“There are about five isolation centers in Abuja. The ones in Gwagwalada and Karu, the healthcare workers there have been paid. But the ones in Idu, Asokoro and the central area haven’t received their payments for three months,” the patient tells Pulse, while pleading that her name be left out of this story.
She says she’s been speaking with doctors on the predicament.
“I am being treated in Idu. I was admitted recently. One of the doctors told me that they have held discussions on the owed salaries with the management or the government and that they have been told that they will get something soon, but that right now, there’s no money.
“No one knows when that ‘soon’ will be and everyone here is quite dejected, disgruntled and demotivated,” she says in an emotion laden voice.
At the mercy of grumbling doctors
She also tells Pulse that doctors and healthcare workers at this facility want the public to know what they are going through.
“I think this is very unfair for people risking their lives and all. It’s not right. The doctors here say they have been trying to get the word out and make people realise what they are going through here and make the authorities understand their predicament and come to their aid,” she says.
She also reveals that even though she’s asked for a test, she hasn’t been able to get one because the healthcare workers at the facility may just be gradually downing tools.
“I asked a nurse if I could get a test to confirm my status so that I will know how long I’m staying here. But she said she wasn’t sure because they haven’t been paid. It’s like they can’t access some things right now…
“It’s just not right to do work and not get paid for it. Of course you won’t put in your best in a scenario like this. Right now, they are talking of going on strike. Which is going to put those of us who are patients here at risk,” she adds.
A doctor at the isolation center corroborated the patient’s story during a lunchtime chat with TopnewstvReporter.
He also craved anonymity for this story because he had yet to receive official permission to speak on the subject.
Some 40 patients are currently undergoing COVID-19 treatment at this isolation center.
Commissioned with fanfare
The 506-bed space COVID-19 Isolation and Treatment Centre in Idu, was inaugurated amid plenty of fanfare by Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Muhammad Bello, in early May, 2020.
Pulse understands that the welfare of the healthcare workers and the state of the facility have received scant attention as the weeks have rolled into months.
A spokesperson of the FCT Minister was not immediately available for comments for this story.
A gentleman on the other end of a publicly available line attached to the Ministry of Health’s website, declined comments for this story, saying it wasn’t his job to address scenarios of this kind.
When Pulse asked that he send us another phone number we could reach for official comments on the story, he said he could offer none. “I cannot help you right now, Sir,” he said politely, before hanging up.
Nigeria has recorded 52, 800 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 39,964 recoveries and 1,007 deaths as of Tuesday, August 25, 2020,according to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC).
Abuja has the most number of COVID-19 cases in the country after Lagos–the epicenter of the outbreak in Nigeria and the nation’s most populous city.
There are currently 5,046 reported COVID-19 cases in Abuja. Lagos has recorded 18, 018 cases of the virus at the time of reporting, according to official data.
Nigeria diagnosed its index COVID-19 case on February 27, 2020.