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State govts responsible for COVID-19 patients’ evacuation — NCDC

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Director-General of NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu.

Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, the Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), says it is the responsibility of State Governments to evacuate COVID-19 patients to medical facilities for treatment.

Ihekweazu said this while fielding questions on Monday at the 49th joint national briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 in Abuja.

According to the director-general, the NCDC cannot forcefully take a patient to the hospital as it is not a law enforcement agency.

Ihekweazu was reacting to a viral video showing a patient being forcefully evacuated.

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He said while he could not vouch for any health officer’s conduct in the country, the evacuation of patients remained the duty of the state governments.

“Every state has a responsibility for evacuation; as we start increasing the inclusion of the private sector in care, you would find that more people would start evacuating patients with the private sector services.

”So, there is a whole spectrum of possibilities that could have happened.

“What we don’t do as health workers is to use force to evacuate patients to provide them care. That would be a very unusual reaction.

”We are not law enforcement and we are not trained in law enforcement.

“We never use force to evacuate patients; if we have difficulty and there are specific circumstances because of public health reasons why an evacuation has to happen, we would invite our friends in the (security) services to support us in that act,” Ihekweazu said.

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