The Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) Ughelli Correspondents chapel has lambasted the Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa over the sudden shut down of Ughelli Central Hospital, over COVID-19 scare.
The union in a communiqué issued immediately, after its statutory congress, maintained that the state government has no medical and moral justification for shutting down some departments of the hospital without providing alternative access to Medicare for patients using the hospital.
The communiqué which was signed by the Chapel’s Acting Chairman, Comrade Sunday Apah and its Secretary, Comrade Matthias Ogbagah, reads thus, “We want to observe with great displeasure the sudden shutting down of important departments of the Ughelli Central Hospital by its management.
“The development which has led to several deaths within Ughelli and environs in the past few days due to lack of access to Medicare by the patients, has resulted in growing concerns by most residents including this union.
During the weekend, a POS operator was shot in Ekiugbo, Ughelli and died of excessive bleeding after failing to secure medical attention as he was rejected in the private hospital he was rushed to due to the closure of the central hospital.
“We are not against the state’s government pro-activeness in trying to curtail the spread of the Coronavirus in the state, but sometimes our government seems to be hasty in making certain decisions. You don’t just close a central hospital without providing alternative access to Medicare. Doing so will lead to further deaths and endangerment of the lives of the public.
“This is because issues of health challenges are not things that could be postponed. Any little sickness can kill if not diagnosed and treated on time. So shutting down the hospital completely is not in the health interest of the public.
“It must also be noted that many of these persons being denied Medicare are subscribers of the Delta State Health Insurance Scheme, and are still paying their subscriptions till date despite the COVID-19 scare as it is being deducted from source.
“The congress also berated the Delta State Government for her failure to address the growing insecurity in the state despite several boast it has made in recent times.
“Congress therefore called on the state government, to be up and doing, in fulfilling its primary democratic responsibilities, to citizens of the state which is security of lives and properties”.