By Hassan Zaggi
The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), has condemned in strong terms the recent looting and destruction of hospitals, clinics and medical stores in different parts of the country.
It, therefore, called on security agencies to provide protection to these facilities.
It further expressed shocked over the magnitude of the reported looting of hospital equipment, vaccines, drugs and consumables as well as assaults on its members, who were in the line of duty in Lagos, Ebonyi, Delta, Edo, Cross River, Kaduna, Nasarawa and Ekiti States
In a statement signed by the NMA President and General Secretary, Prof. Innocent Ujah and Dr. Philips Uche, respectively, the group condemned what it described as “these acts of hooliganism by some criminals who turned the very peaceful #ENDSARS protests into violence of unimaginable proportion.
“We are concerned about the risks health workers and health facilities are exposed and call 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.”
The NMA therefore appealed to the protesters and hoodlums to stop further wanton destruction of hospital facilities.
“Over the last one week the NMA has been painfully disturbed by the violent turn of events as hoodlums seeking COVID-19 palliatives attacked health facilities ranging from burning of hospitals and clinics to looting and vandalization of medical and hospital supplies, consumables and vaccines.
“The NMA as the umbrella body of Nigerian Doctors and leader of the health Team condemns in an unequivocal terms this barbaric, primitive and wanton destruction of hospital facilities that is capable of endangering the health of Nigerians and have irredeemable negative impact on the health system.
“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.
“The unfortunate action of the hoodlums will further weaken the delivery of health services as Nigeria continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in an already near comatose health system and will certainly be a setback on our country’s desire to achieve the Universal Health coverage (UHC) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” the statement noted.
The NMA further appealed to those who are in custody of these medicaments and hospital equipment to return them either to be used or destroyed professionally because some of these medicaments can be very harmful to the human body.
It further lamented that: “The vaccines that were carted away are meant to prevent diseases but the action of the hoodlums may lead to resurgence of vaccine-preventable childhood diseases.
“We therefore, urge all those in 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.
“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.”