Ebola in Nigeria: Civilians barred from military hospitals, Lagos hospitals rejecting patients

Scared stiff of the Ebola virus especially in some Lagos hospitals, the military has secretly ordered its health care workers to stop attending to civilians at its hospitals across the country.

In most military hospitals in Nigeria, civilians account for less than 80 per cent of the patients that are attended to on a daily basis, meaning that the order will be depriving a sizeable number of Nigerians from accessing medical care from the military hospitals.

A source close to the military told THISDAY that the instruction was handed down in a memo to all Nigerian Air Force hospitals in the country last Friday in memo titled, “Order to Unit Order”.

According to the source, “Such a memo can only be from above and it clearly stated that henceforth all NAF hospitals are to stop attending to civilians seeking medical care at our hospitals”.

THISDAY gathered that the NAF hospital along the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway has begun the implementation of the order by turning back civilians at its gate.

An outpatient at the hospital said: “I got there on Monday and to my surprise, I was not allowed beyond the gate. I learnt that there was an Ebola scare in the hospital and the military does not want such a development in their environment.”

The source added: “I saw people picking cards when I got there, but they were all turned back. It’s sad that the military authorities are doing this to us.”

THISDAY made phone calls to the military high command for a confirmation of the story, but calls to the mobile number of the Director of Defence Information, Major General Chris Olukolade, went to voicemail. A text message sent to the mobile number was not responded to either.

In a related development, most Lagos hospitals are still turning down requests from patients to be treated of ailments unrelated to Ebola, because of the fear that their health workers may contract the disease.

Yesterday, a patient was left to die at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) without attention because the nurses thought he had the Ebola virus.

The patient, a pastor in one of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) parishes identified as Solomon Olayanju, was taken to LUTH on Monday after he was referred there from a private hospital.

According to a relative of the deceased, he developed high temperature overnight and was taken to a nearby private hospital last Friday where they tried to stabilise him before referring him to LUTH.

“He had a high temperature last Friday and we took him to a private hospital from where they referred us to LUTH. At LUTH, the pastor was abandoned to die without care. The doctors didn’t show up to attend to him. The doctor simply prescribed drugs for him through a phone call to the nurse,” said Bonny Oriarehu, a close associate of the deceased.

THISDAY’s frantic effort to get LUTH to respond equally proved abortive. The hospital’s Public Relations Officer, Mrs. Hope Nwalolo, didn’t pick her calls, nor did she respond to a text message.

Also THISDAY gathered that more patients are dying in many hospitals due to their inability to access medical care based on the fear that they might have contracted Ebola.

Ebola’s collateral damage in West Africa must already be considerable. The moral: When you’ve got Ebola in your country, don’t get sick with anything else—especially anything that gives you a fever and makes you vomit.

The following two tabs change content below.
Dan Mullin is an active writer and editor for the Pluto Daily who covered the 2014 Ebola Outbreak. Mullin attended the Wake Forest School of Medicine before leaving to pursue his lifelong science goal of allowing humans to live forever via a computer/brain transfer.