COVID-19: Expert Attributes Success To Never-Say-Die Nigerian Spirit @ Realnews2020Lecture

Yemisi Izuora 

ALERO Roberts, of the department of community health and primary and care, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, has attributed the successes recorded in the fight r4 the ‘Never-say-die” Nigerian spirit. She said the collective Nigerian spirit was responsible for both Ebola and COVID-19 being defeated in the country.

Speaking as a discussant at the eighth-anniversary lecture of Realnews Magazine and Publplatformns 444 Limited in Lagos, on Thursday, November 19, Roberts said this Nigerian spirit was not going to go away anytime soon. “Indeed the collective Nigerian spirit is what is responsible for both Ebola and COVID-19 being defeated in the country. It is a spirit that is not going to go away anytime soon as we have seen in recent events. And sometimes, when you try to squash it quite a bit too much, it rocks in areas we have not yet seen. But I’m grateful for the Nigerian spirit because it is that spirit that brought us here and given us the Realnews platform to speak to each other,” she said.

Roberts regretted that despite the abundance of human resources in the country, the health sector is facing brain drain. Apart from doctors that often travel abroad for greener pasture, Roberts said the nursing sector is also facing brain drain. “Mr. CMD, I don’t intend to spill the secret of the house, but I know what we are facing even in a health facility like the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, easily the best equipped, best run health facility Nigeria has of today. But we have a problem with human resources for health; we have a problem with retaining our nursing staff.

“Everybody is aware of the doctors’ brain drain. How many of us are really aware that there is a worse brain drain among the nurses, midwifes, pediatric nurses, theatre nurses, accident and emergency nurses, we don’t have enough, not even in the Lagos University Teaching Hospital.

“How can we, Dr. Aliyu leverage on the gains that PTF have made, the lessons learned to address some of these things. You gave N1 billion to the states and I remember commenting on television couple of occasions that, yes you gave a billion naira to the states to test one percent of their population. You have specific conditions, how in all good conscious can any governor leave all the pressing needs of his state, collect a billion naira and put it in just COVID testing?

“When the artisans will ask him if I test positive, will I wait at home? Who will feed my children? If I don’t put this cart I will not get money to eat. How was that going to happen? We have unpaid salary bills and you gave him a billion naira for COVID testing without the support because as a public health physician, I will be the first to say don’t test if you can’t treat. What are you offering them?  I do still work for the government and they will not sack me, they will not keep me quiet, they will address these concerns,” she said.

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