It has been reported that serious tension has enveloped the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital (OOUTH), Sagamu, in Ogun State as no fewer than 20 medical laboratory staff of the hospital and another family of four have contracted coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
According to Vanguard, the family of four was said to have contracted the viral disease from their father who happened to be one of the staff working in the hospital’s main laboratory.
A dependable source in the hospital said that the staff of the laboratory started going for the COVID-19 test last week Friday, August 13 following the death of staff from the department while some were already ill and manifesting symptoms associated with Covid-19.
The results of the test were said to have started trickling in from last week Saturday to yesterday, Tuesday confirming that 20 out of about 70 staff working in the medical laboratory of the hospital have the virus while one of them had also infected his wife and three children.
This incident was said to have caused great confusion in the teaching hospital while those confirmed to be having the virus have been told to proceed on self-isolation.
One of the staff of the hospital who spoke to Vanguard correspondent on the condition of anonymity has however heaped the blame of the incident on the insensitivity of the management of the hospital to the plight of the medical laboratory staff dealing with Covid-19 patients
He said “the OOUTH management under Dr Peter Adefuye should be blamed for whatever happened to the laboratory staff because of their refusal to provide us with sufficient Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that we needed to have as health workers having direct dealing with the samples of COVID-19 patients”
“When they started bringing the samples of Covid-19 patients to us last month, the Director of Medical Laboratory Services Department wrote letter to the management demanding for those things to be put in place so that in the course of caring for others, we will also not be jeopardising our lives but the management did nothing”.
“They are always quick to say there is no money, yet we know that we are generating money for the government”
“The management of the hospital were equally told to get a separate laboratory for COVID-19 test just as it was done during the time of Ebola but this they also turned down.
Our Correspondent also gathered that the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN) OOUTH chapter has equally written letters to the management of the hospital twice demanding the discontinued processing of Covid-19 samples at the main laboratory because of its attendant risk, setting up of a different lab for COVID-19 test and ensure that the lab workers were provided with sufficient personal protective kits.
The Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr Peter Adefuye reportedly did nothing on the concerns of the lab workers as expressed in the two letters.
It was alleged that he told them that “if they like, they can join the resident doctors of the hospital who have been on strike for about two months now”.
When contacted on phone, Dr. Adefuye said, “I don’t talk to faceless people. If you need any reaction, go and take permission from the Ministry of Health. After all, we are at the community transmission stage of the pandemic.”
On her part, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Tomi Coker said she has not received any report of such in her office.