ABUJA- NO fewer than 400 health workers have tested positive for the dreaded Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, National President, Medical and Health Workers Union, MHWUN, Joy Josiah Biobelemoye, has said.
This is as the Federal Government has said that the challenges posed by the ravaging COVID-19 were overwhelming.
The MHWUN President who disclosed this during the flag of the distribution of Personal Protective Equipments PPEs to State councils of health workers in Abuja on Thursday assured that despite the spike in infections, health workers would not relent in protecting the citizens.
He noted that the situation on the ground called for drastic solutions, hence, the decision of the union to take it upon itself to distribute PPEs to her members.
According to him, “What prompted us into taking the decision after joining others is to see how we can protect the citizens in our little way.
“This time we have decided to provide PPEs for our members because we have realized that between the time the country had its first index case and now, as on Tuesday, we have had over 400 of our members that have been infected and still counting.
“So by the time the figure rose to over 150, we decided that we also need to support our members while carrying out their duties so we came up with the plan of supplying 50, 000 pieces of face masks for distribution to the 38 chapters of our union across the country.”
Among PPEs to be distributed across 38 state councils of the union includes, 50,000 pieces of face masks, 15,200 pieces of sanitizers, 2000 pieces of disinfectants, and 1,200 pieces of hand wash.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Marshi Abdullahi, said the challenges that Covid-19 has thrown up in the health sector were becoming overwhelming, hence the Federal Government was appreciative of any donations made by public-spirited Nigerians towards curbing the pandemic.
He noted that for some unusual reasons Nigeria has been able to brace up to the challenges better than other advanced countries with technological ingenuity.
The Permanent Secretary, who was represented by the Director, Human Resources, Aliyu Mohammed said, “The emergence of Covid-19 has changed the way we live our lives and the health system in general, such that even the developed countries have been overwhelmed, talk less of Nigeria.
“The virus has affected the economy drastically, hence government cannot meet all the challenges that have been thrown up, that is why we welcome such donations by the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria.
“We have many frontline health workers taking up these challenges on behalf of other Nigerians and the federal government always appreciates of these efforts, so we crave your understanding and more support to improve on our health care delivery in the country.”
Speaking earlier, President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, said health workers deserved commendation for being the first set of people to raise awareness on Covid-19 and its preventive measures.
Represented by the General Secretary, Comrade Emmanuel Ugboaja, Wabba said when many Nigerians saw health workers putting on the face mask, they became aware of the seriousness of the virus and the need to stay safe.
He said, “Medical and Health Workers Union were the first set of people that produced face masks and other PPEs and started distributing to Nigerians.”