The advent of COVID-19 has changed the dynamics of our health sector and the economy at large especially the access to basic health care services at all levels of healthcare. The pandemic has negatively impacted the basic indicators of health which includes maternal mortality rate, under-five mortality rate, neonatal mortality rate and many others. Of course, economic indices weren’t spared and have increased over the past few months.
In the past 3 to 6 months, the federal government has channelled it’s fund and resources to building isolation and treatment centres thereby neglecting preexisting problems more in the tertiary health institutions. As a doctor and a member of the state covid-19 response team, I was posted to one of the isolation centers on the island and this occurred at the peak of the pandemic. Every day’s work had its own peculiar risks and challenges which were risk of exposure to infected patients, downing and duffing of the personal protective equipments and sample collection. Another area of concern was spending long hours at work, inadequate provision of personal protective equipments and late remunerations. During my short stay at the treatment centre, I had to manage a lot of infected patients with co-existing medical conditions and different behavioural illness. A significant percentage of patients developed various psychiatric conditions on admission which were depression, mood disorder, phobias, anxiety disorder and this was obviously due to lack of restriction for at least 2 weeks.
Due to the rising number of confirmed cases, the laid down structure was not sufficient enough to accommodate positive cases so the home-based management was adopted by the Nigerian center for disease control which led to rapid decongestion and closure of some of the isolation centers. Also, depleting funds and resources was one of the basic reason for the closure. Despite the poor compliance to protocols and guidelines, as a public health physician, I will continue to advocate for adoption of safety measures which involves the use of protective equipments, frequent hand washing, use of hand sanitizers and social distancing because the recent declining number of daily cases doesn’t rule out an active spread of the virus.