The scarcity of personal protective equipment (PPE) deepens amidst the spiraling cases of COVID-19 infection, this has led health workers to cry out on the dangers it exposes them to as they rely on personal protective equipment to protect themselves and their patients from being infected and infecting others.
According toTedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General during a press conference in Geneva, warned that severe and mounting disruption to the global supply of PPE – caused by rising demand, panic buying, hoarding and misuse – is putting lives at risk from coronavirus and other infectious diseases.
He said shortages of gloves, medical masks, respirators, goggles, face shields, gowns, and aprons are leaving doctors, nurses and other frontline medical workers dangerously-ill equipped to care for COVID-19 patients.
“Without secure supply chains, the risk to healthcare workers around the world is real. Industry and governments must act quickly to boost supply, ease export restrictions and put measures in place to stop speculation and hoarding.
“Since the outbreak of COVID 19 prices if PPE have surged, we can’t stop COVID-19 without protecting health workers first,” he said.
Dr Samuel Elaigwu a gynecologist at the Garki Hospital Abuja complained on the risk involved working with out protective kits, describing it as a dangerous venture and not safe.
Elaigwu stressed that “in this critical time we work without face mask,hand gloves or sanitizer,I resumed this morning to only two hand gloves on my desk, when I asked for more I was told none is available yet I should manage those until they restock.
“How can I manage two gloves when I have more than ten pregnant women waiting to be attended to,this is ridiculous,” he lamented.
Also in a chat with Cecilia Ada, a Nurse at the University Teaching Hospital Calabar of the Emergency unit described the situation to be a sad one as they are left to look out for themselves without adequate PPE and this according to her has left staff at the unit scared for their lives and ready to sprint at any reported case.
While stating an event that occurred in the unit as a suspected case was reported she said “nurses and doctors took to their heels through available means some even jump windows to escape when they said the man is a suspected case of COVID 19.”
“No one is ready to die for situation that can be rescued,for myself I used to buy these things before but with the hike in prices I cannot afford it any longer how many will I buy,how much will remain from my salary to use on my family and dependent.” she asked in rhetoric.
Though The Director-General, Abia State Marketing and Quality Management Agency, Sam Hart has stated that the Governor Okezie Ikpeazu,has provided seed funding to about 10 manufacturers and challenged them to produce facemasks and other consumables to aid the scarcity of these products, hopefully this may be the answer to the situation for the country in the long run.