RECAN Condemns Attack on FMC Lokoja, Calls for Safety of Health Workers

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By Stephen Adeleye.

A coalition of NGOs, the Rehoboth Community Advancement Initiative (RECAN), has condemned in its entirety the recent invasion of Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Lokoja, by hoodlums who destroyed and carted away personal and hospital property.

Some hoodlums had on July 1, invaded FMC Lokoja, who destroyed and carted away some personal and hospital property.

The RECAN Executive Director, Mr Abaniwo Nathaniel, in a statement on Friday in Lokoja, expressed his heartfelt support to all the health workers responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, and for those working tirelessly in so many other areas of health care as well. 

He stressed that healthcare workers, facilities and medical vehicles should never be a target of violence, while urging governments, communities and all weapon bearers to respect and protect health care workers at all times.

He further urged the people to contribute to creating a protective environment in which health care services could be provided safely, saying, ”safety and protection of health care workers and health care infrastructure is paramount during the Corona Virus pandemic”.

”Ensuring that health care workers are safe and able to carry out their jobs is crucial for their protection and that can be guaranteed by any responsible Government. 

”Their protection is essential in ensuring the continuing care of the lives of people affected by diseases. 

”Healthcare workers are often exposed to all forms of infectious diseases in their life-saving activity and they should not also be made vulnerable to any form of physical attack.

”Unfortunately, the deplorable state of our health institutions in Kogi State and the entire country remains a major concern to all and sundry. 

”Conversely, the years of total neglect and lack of political will and interest to by our leaders to invest massively in our health sector has clearly demonstrated how bad governance has deeply affected all the fabrics of governance across the country. 

”The sad reality we have got to live and deal with is the outbreak of Corona Virus pandemic which has exposes the entire nations across the globe to the gaps and age long decay in our health care system particularly within developing nations like Nigeria. 

”The recent displays of public support for COVID-19 responders are heartwarming, but many responders are nevertheless experiencing harassment, stigmatization and physical violence as recently observed in the attack on Federal Medical Center, Lokoja by unknown gun men.

”Violence against health care workers should not be tolerated, therefore we stand firmly against it and advised Kogi Government to build a State where health workers and patients are safe and well protected”, Nathaniel said.

He enjoined the Kogi Government to find a common ground in resolving the needless back and front argument on whether or not Corona Virus exist in the State.

He expressed the deep concern of RECAN over the avoidable trauma caregivers and patients of men and women including children on admission at FMC Lokoja would have gone through while the attack was going on. 

He sympathized with the caregivers and urged the State Government to rise up to her responsibilities of providing security for all Kogites and particularly the healthcare workers whose life were constantly under threat. 

”Remember, where two elephants fights the grass will suffer, but in this circumstances patients and their caregivers are suffering as a result of the closure of FMC Lokoja, whose facility complements the grossly inadequate health care services available to over four million Kogites.

”We urge Government to urgently intervene by setting up a panel of enquiry to look into the immediate cause of this needless attack on FMC Lokoja, and recommend appropriate measures to resolve all issues associated with COVID 19 in the state,” he said.

He urged the security agencies to investigate the breach in security at the hospital, and anyone found culpable in the dishonorable act, be made to face the full wrath of the law.

He also called on the leadership of Kogi NGO Network (KONGONET) to develop implementable strategies to bring both Kogi Government and management of FMC to a discussion table where all issues could be resolved in the best interest of the State.

Nathaniel, however, advised the management of FMC Lokoja, to reconsider the strike and reopen the hospital to admit patients in dare need of medical services, while urging residents to continue to stay safe and strictly comply with NCDC COVID-19 protocols.

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