The Chief Medical Director(CMD) of University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Professor Jesse Otegbayo, has disclosed that some doctors in the hospital have embarked on self-isolation after they had contacts with some people suspected to have contracted coronavirus in the hospital.
He disclosed this just as the hospital closed down the outpatient clinics including Medicine, Surgery and Children Departments. However, the hospital’s accident and emergency department was open and health workers including doctors and nurses were on ground rendering services.
Otegbayo, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN), on Wednesday, said “as I speak with you, there are some of our doctors who are on self-isolation or quarantine because of exposure to suspected cases.
“We don’t have to wait till we start seeing positive ones before we take appropriate actions. As the CMD, I have the sole responsibility to take care of and protect our staff from unnecessary infection and I just want to be proactive.
“As you are aware, the number of cases that are testing positive to COVID-19 is increasing and personally, I believe in prevention rather than all these curative approaches.
“Some countries have been able to reduce the number of cases because they locked down early.
“Initially, we thought we should leave the outpatient department open but we realise that continuing to do that in the absence of enough materials to protect all our staff including our doctors, nurses and health attendants is not the best option, and the best option will be to lock this place down.”
The CMD further stated that measures have also been taken to ensure that emergency services remain open under strict compliance with preventive measures and standard infection control precautions.
“We have channels for taking care of those with emergencies and we are going to do that to the best of our abilities.
“I usually call the Accident and Emergency Department a mad house, but we have had to put in some measures to ensure that it is not just the staff, but also patients with emergencies are protected.
“We have a spillover tent outside our A&E with measures that everyone who comes in maintain a safe distance from one another and these measures are necessary to ensure that we all work under the best condition in order to put in our best,” he said.
Otegbayo said the hospital was also merging its wards to reduce the number of patients on admission.
“As the chief executive of this hospital, I have the responsibility to see things for myself and I am just coming from a ward round and we have decided to close down some wards.
“We are collapsing our wards so that we reduce the number of patients on admission, those who are stable we are discharging because we need to sort out and limit the number of staff that will be exposed to any possible infection,” the CMD added.