Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Health, has said no private hospital in the country as been accredited to treat patients who contracted the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
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Ehanire stated this at a press briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja on Friday.
There had been questions concerning the involvement of private health practitioners in treating COVID-19 patients following the death of a Lagos-based doctor over the disease.
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But Ehanire clarified that no hospital apart from the approved isolation centres has been licenced to manage COVID-19 patients.
The minister revealed that although some private health facilities have expressed interest to manage COVID-19 patients, he insisted that such hospitals have failed to meet certain criteria.
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He said: “There is a large hospital in Lagos that has called me saying they want to become a coronavirus treatment centre.
“The structure of the hospital is such that they are ready to remove all the present patients they have and do nothing but coronavirus, so they don’t stand the risk of cross-infection.
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“If as a private person, you want to run a treatment centre, you have to show that you have the staff; a doctor who must be an infectious disease specialist, nurses and even cleaners who are trained, because handling of such hospitals is different from handling ordinary hospitals.
“There is no hospital that has met these criteria at the moment.”
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Ehanire stated that such hospitals would have to undergo “inspection by a team which would give the go-ahead to do so”.
He also reiterated his warning to private health practitioners against treating COVID-19 patients, emphasising that the risk of transmission is very high and can overwhelm the health system if not properly managed.