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COVID-19: Paucity of funds hits Isolation Centres in Oyo

Patients and health workers in three different Isolation Centres in Oyo State, are now facing uncertainties due to paucity of funds, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
The centres, which had once been among the best in terms of care and patients’ recovery, were faced with its worst nightmare, as patients now groaned in pains of not being attended to promptly.
NAN gathered that the problems became pronounced following the influx of COVID-19 related patients into the state from centres in other states that were barely functioning due to lack of funding.
According to an official, who pleaded not to be quoted, patients from Kwara and Lagos, as well as other neighbouring states, were being brought to the isolation centres in Oyo for care.
Also, some health workers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, claimed that they had not been paid for about six weeks, in spite of the long hours services they rendered on daily basis with risk of infection.
The workers further alleged that they were being kicked out of the hotel meant for the medical personnel whenever they were not on duty, as no fund was disbursed to the hotel in the last six weeks.
NAN reports that the information came to light when they informed patients at the three isolation centres in Ibadan that they should call their people from home to start bringing food for them from this week.
Commenting, Mr Olu Abe, one of the patients, complained that the patients could not afford taking drugs on empty stomach, while others complained that their families were not resident in Ibadan.
Another patient, who simply identified himself as Akintola from Ogbomoso, expressed worries on how patients in the isolation centres would get their families to bring food for them daily till when they would leave.
NAN Correspondent gathered that most of the respondents were afraid that those at Olodo Infectious Disease Centre, who were in much more critical condition, would be facing the same uncertainties.
Patients at the Jericho Nursing Home and Agbami Isolation Centres, which housed patients who are mostly stable, were demanding that they should be allowed to go home to meet their families.
The health workers insisted that until a patient is negative, even if their condition is stable, they wouldn’t be allowed to go home, because of the risk of infecting their families and communities.
A doctor, who is part of the team managing the COVID-19 patients,  complained that they were facing difficulty and confused on how to get their patients back to health and recuperation.
The doctor said that patients’ comfort was paramount to recovery from COVID-19 infection.
The medical practitioner also expressed worry about the conditions of Sickle Cell patients and those with ulcer, hypertension and diabetic patients he was managing.
“We have been asked to vacate the hotel where we are staying. The reason for staying in the hotel is to prevent health workers from infecting their families.
“We are trying to protect our families by not going home after our different daily shifts.
“Now that our hotel bills are not being paid, the hotel management has advised us to pack our loads out of the hotel.
“They don’t want to embarrass us, but if need be, we have to leave. The question is where do we go to, since we are still attending to those patients in isolation centres?
“We also suffer a stigma from our colleagues, and not paying us for over six weeks is like rubbing salt on our injuries,” the source said.
According to the doctor, it’s our passion and voluntary services, but what do we have to show for it?
“We, the health workers, are also overstretched, and we do not have enough workers.
“Many of our colleagues, especially doctors, are shying away from the isolation centres and they don’t join in this fight, they are afraid of getting infected,” one of the affected medical team said.
Commenting, a patient, Alimot Aina, said the general complaint of patients was that they were scared, because their family members could not visit them.
Aina said: “They are not allowed to come near where we are, as it may increase the risk of infection of other people coming to see their loved ones.
“Our fear is that maybe Gov. Seyi Makinde of Oyo State is not aware of the condition of things here.
“If this persists, it will leave people to the care of private hospitals, which may be detrimental, considering the rate at which the Delta variant spreads and how deadly it is.
“The government should please come to our aid at this crucial time,” she said.
Reacting, Dr Olabode Ladipo, the Oyo State Incident Manager and Coordinator of the Emergency Operations Centre, said the allegation was strange to him.
“But, if they are not paid, I find it rather ridiculous, because I don’t see reason why they are not paid,” Ladipo said.
He asked NAN Correspondent to give him more time to verify the allegation and find out the true position, saying the isolation centres were not under his purview.
Meanwhile, all efforts to get comments of Prof. Temitope Alonge, who is directly in charge of the centres proved abortive. His phone number wasn’t responding to call, nor reply to NAN messages. (NAN)
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