The director general Amnesty International Nigeria Osai Ojigho has said that Nigerian healthcare workers in the front line for Covid-19 are exposed due to difficult conditions pose by lack of personal protective equipments
Across Nigeria, health workers are facing extremely difficult and unsafe conditions of work, such as shortages of personal protective equipment, dilapidated and overstretched health facilities, unfair remuneration and harassment by security forces,” he said.
“Health workers have been describing the difficulties they face and the danger they confront to secure the health and lives of people in Nigeria.
“What the government must guarantee is their protection. It is unacceptable that they continue to be put at risk.”
The statement also captured the personal experiences of some health workers who described their working conditions as “deplorable”.
“In the government hospital where I work, there is no running water for health workers to wash their hands. Doctors and nurses have to fetch water in a bowl, which is not sanitary,” a health worker reportedly told the organisation.
Another health worker was quoted as saying: “Surgical masks are not adequately available in the hospital where I work. Authorities contracted tailors to sew unsafe masks with local fabrics. Doctors and nurses had to protest before they were given N95 masks. These masks are not adequately available. We have to wash the masks for repeated usage. Health workers are in danger.”
The statement also added that despite being granted exemption during the lockdown, health workers are faced with harassment from securities agents.
“In April, doctors at the federal medical centre, Asaba, Delta State, embarked on a strike over the harassment of health workers by security agents,” the statement read.
“Health workers must be provided with all necessary personal protective equipment (such as masks, gloves, gowns, hand sanitizer, soap, water), fair remuneration, appropriate working hours with healthy breaks, accurate and accessible information on COVID-19, training, and psycho-social support. Health workers must be given all the support they need to effectively do their jobs.”
Ojigho urged the government to implement policies that would ensure the safety of health workers.
“For those who have been infected with COVID-19 following exposure in the workplace, the government must ensure access to adequate treatment and, where relevant, effective remedies and compensation,” she said.
Over 100 healthcare workers have been infected in the country these include 40 doctors