Nigeria: Coronavirus - Buhari Hails Health Workers

(file photo).

President Muhammadu Buhari has described as heroes, health workers who have been part of the fight against COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

He said this during a broadcast to the nation on the current state of the pandemic in the country.

He assured that measures to motivate the health workers to do more, will be introduced soon.

"At this point, I must recognise the incredible work being done by our healthcare workers and volunteers across the country especially in frontline areas of Lagos and Ogun States as well as the Federal Capital Territory.

"You are our heroes and as a nation, we will forever remain grateful for your sacrifice during this very difficult time. More measures to motivate our health care workers are being introduced which we will announce in the coming weeks," he said.

Lockdown extension

The president also announced the extension of the lockdown by another 14 days and that more isolation centres will be built near airports and land borders as part of measures to combat the disease.

"Using our resources and those provided through donations, we will adequately equip and man these centres in the coming weeks. Already, healthcare workers across all the treatment centres have been provided with the personal protective equipment that they need to safely carry out the care they provide."

The president's comments came in the wake of backlash on the health minister,<a target="_blank" href="https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/top-news/347872-profiles-of-nigerias-new-health-ministers-osagie-ehanire-and-olorunnimbe-mamora.html"> Osagie Ehanire</a>, for saying he was unaware if hazard allowance was paid to health workers.

Mr Ehanire, at a meeting with the leadership of the national assembly on Friday, said he was not aware if health workers are being paid hazard allowance for the work they are doing.

He added that whether during a pandemic or not, handling emergencies is a "standard job they (health workers) do every day."

At the same event, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, who is also the chairman of the Presidential Task force (PTF) on COVID-19, said he only realised how bad Nigeria's health infrastructure was after he was appointed to head the team.

"I never knew that our entire healthcare infrastructure was in the state in which it is -- until I was appointed to do this work," Mr Mustapha told the leadership of the National Assembly.

PREMIUM TIMES earlier reported how nurses and midwives taking care of COVID-19 patients said they had no life insurance and were not receiving any special hazard allowance different from that embedded in their salaries.

The number of confirmed cases in the country has been on the increase. As at 9 p.m. on Sunday, the <a target="_blank" href="http://ncdc.gov.ng">NCDC</a> announced a total of 323 confirmed cases, including 10 deaths.

Over 80 persons have recovered and been discharged.

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