Reporter: CHINELO PHIL-OPARA
As claims and counter claims range over the provisions made to the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital Isolation and Treatment Centre Ituku Ozalla, Enugu State, Patients at the centre have called for the quick resolution of the matter to enable them to enjoy free treatment as being provided in the other three centers in the State.
They made their feelings known when our correspondent visited the centre to find out the extent the support received had translated to care and support for the patients. The outbreak of Covid 19 since December 2019 left many countries battling with how to contain the pandemic. As at 5th of August, the number of infected persons in the country had risen to over forty four thousand.
In Enugu State, efforts are on to ensure that the protocols on prevention are strictly adhered to, but for those who already tested positive to the virus, four Isolation and Treatment Centers are available for them to access treatment. The Isolation and treatment centers are located at ESUT Teaching Hospital Parklane, the Diagnostic Center in Enugu, One in Nsukka and the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, UNTH, Ituku Ozalla.
While the first three treat Covid 19 cases, severe cases occasioned by the pandemic are mostly referred to the UNTH Isolation and Treatment Centre. However some of the patients interviewed at the UNTH centre said though they got the best of treatments, they had to pay for everything except the services rendered by the Doctors.
Relatives of some of the patients at the centre also explained that the treatment was biting hard on their pockets. The situation is a different scenario at the other three isolation centers in the State as confirmed by some out patients: During one of the briefings by the Presidential Task force on Covid 19, The DG NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekwazu said the efforts of the Federal Government was to Support and strengthen the State response system to the pandemic.
The question is, three months down the line, since its establishment in May and accreditation in July what can be done to make the Centre at UNTH function better, the Consultant Infectious Disease and Co-ordinator of the UNTH Isolation and Treatment Centre, Dr. Uche Unigwe confirmed that the centre had received help from the Enugu State Government and Social Welfare but said they look forward to being accorded the same status as other Isolation and Treatment Centers in the State to enable the patients to receive free treatment, medication, investigation and feeding as available in other centers.
The State Commissioner for Health and Chairman State Task force on Covid 19, Dr Ike Obi had in an interview with Radio Nigeria promised that the process to incorporate the centre to benefit fully from the State Government’s financing of COVID 19 management was on.
However, a Development Analyst, Dr Chigozie Anarado had called for immediate redress of the situation and to decentralize the testing center in the State. Dr Anarado advised that all efforts must be employed to help COVID 19 patients in the State to ensure that testing and treatment would be accessible as part of the measures to curb community spread.