November 2, 2020

ENDSARS:  NMA condemns attack, looting of hospitals by hoodlums

Nigeria ranks 14th of 18 countries with poor health system; trails Rwanda, as South Africa tops

Says it will further worsen health services

By Chioma Obinna

The Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, has expressed worry over massive destruction of health facilities and looting of medical supplies, consumables, and vaccines by hoodlums, saying the attack would further worsen health services nationwide.

In a press statement made available to Vanguard, the National President, Prof Innocent Ujah said: “NMA as the umbrella body of Nigerian Doctors and leader of the health Team condemns in unequivocal terms this barbaric, primitive and wanton destruction of hospital facilities that is capable of endangering the health of Nigerians and have an irredeemable negative impact on the health system.

“NMA feels very embarrassed and disappointed that health workers, facilities, and equipment were not secured nor protected by Security Agencies to forestall the monumental nationwide looting and vandalisation of government and private properties.

“We were shocked on the magnitude of the reported looting and vandalisation of health facilities, hospital equipment, vaccines, drugs, and consumables as well as   assaults on our members, who were in the line of duty in Lagos, Ebonyi, Delta, Edo, Cross River, Kaduna, Nasarawa and Ekiti States

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“One of the immediate effects of this unbecoming behaviour of the hoodlums is the danger the public is exposed to. This may have long life effects not only on human beings but also on the environment.”

Ujah said the unfortunate action of the hoodlums would further weaken the delivery of health services as Nigeria continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in an already near-comatose health system.

He described the attack as a setback on a country’s desire to achieve the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

He called on those who are in the custody of these medicaments and hospital equipment to return them either to be used or destroyed professionally as some of the medicaments can be harmful to the human body.

“The vaccines that were carted away are meant to prevent diseases but the action of the hoodlums may 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. No form of attacks on any health facility and hospital personnel is tolerated in any civilized country.

“The Nigerian Medical Association condemns these acts of hooliganism by some criminals who turned the very peaceful #ENDSARS protests into the violence of unimaginable proportion.”

Ujah said they are concerned about the risks health workers and health facilities are exposed and called on all Security Agencies to refocus their security apparatus on Hospitals, clinics, and Medical Stores all over the country, ‘if we desire to give quality health to our people.“

He appealed to all protesters and hoodlums to stop the further wanton destruction of hospital facilities, adding that, the Security Agencies should sustain their efforts in protecting lives and properties in Nigeria.