The Gombe State Task Force on COVID-19 on Wednesday described the protest staged by some Coronavirus symptomatic patients in the state as “emotional protest.”
Dr. Mohammed Kwami, the State Focal Officer on COVID-19 pandemic Response, said this in a statement made available to newsmen in Gombe.
Recall that COVID-19 patients at the Kwadon isolation centre in Yamaltu-Deba Local Government Area of the state on Tuesday embarked on a protest, alleging lack of adequate care and the committee’s inability to provide some of their needs.
Reacting to the development, Kwami said that the protest was not caused by the authorities neglect of the patients, but a misplaced emotional aggression that went out of hand.
He said the task force under the leadership, of Prof. Idris Mohammed, was responsive and proactive in its assignment.
The News Agency of Nigeria quoted the focal officer explained that a relative of one of the female patients led the protest on allegation of neglect and that they wanted her cured in their village unmindful of the associated risk.
Mohammed however, said that the patient was admitted to the centre with a wound she got long before she came into Gombe state.
He said the task force decided to treat the wound as applied to all isolated patients with underlined ailments irrespective of its relation to COVID-19.
“Although the patient has the right to choose where to seek for health care service, but taking into consideration the risk of transmitting the COVID-19 in the communities, the task force was reluctant to allow her to be managed at home,” he said.
According to him, public health consideration outweighs personal interest in the prevention of the transmission of COVID-19.
He said that the task force had been working assiduously to meet the immediate needs of the patients at the isolation centre, especially food and other essential services.
“Medical attention is being given to them with doctors and nurses, in-line with the protocols of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and the task force will not allow self medication at the centre.
“It is therefore inaccurate for anybody to claim that patients are being poorly managed,” Kwami said.
He also described the protest as a manifestation of the prevailing socioeconomic and psychological challenges as well as the consequences of COVID-19.
Kwami also noted that majority of the patients were mostly menial workers who returned from Lagos, Abuja and Kano following the lockdown in those cities.
According to him, the patients found themselves in the state on agreement that they would be subjected to screening and possible isolation for the disease, if tested positive.
The official said it was disheartening that some of the community members freely mingled with the patients during the protest, but assured that contact tracing had began in the area.