In a developing story following the recent quarantine of a 70-year-old woman suspected of having the dreaded CoronaVirus, stories and accusations, especially from the family of the victim, are beginning to rear its head after the daughter of the yet to be identified woman in a doleful letter stated that her mother died due to negligence by the Enugu state government.
According to the lady, her mother regrettably passed away on 15th March 2020, three days after she was placed on quarantine allegedly due to gross negligence by health workers and officials at the Enugu State University Teaching Hospital (ESUTH) Colliery Parklane.
She disclosed that not only was the isolation in a dilapidated environment that seems to have been left uninhabited over a long period, the staff at the hospital were also unprofessional in the way they handled her mother as their stigmatization made her feel worthless.
It was also gathered from the letter that following the old woman’s return to Nigeria from UK on Wednesday 11th January 2020, she was placed on quarantine at an abandoned old section of the hospital on Friday 13th March 2020. Her blood samples were collected the next day Saturday 14th March 2020 with results expected on Monday 16th March 2020.
One would expect a faster testing time for the virus which was declared by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a global pandemic but alas the old woman had to spend 3 days in a dire situation, without adequate health care and unsure of what was happening around her.
“If the result for Covid-19 was ascertained on time, my mother would still be here with us, as she would have been moved to a better-equipped hospital with the right experts to deal with her underlying illnesses. My mother died due to the negligence and unpreparedness of the state in putting adequate facilities including staff training in place. The coronavirus was detected in December 2019. It is disappointing that there is no appropriate isolation centre in Enugu State.” She said.
Adding salt to injury, after the death of her mother, providing a functional stretcher to move the body became a herculean task for the renowned government-owned hospital as the deceased was carried into the hospital ambulance on a wretched tool.
Designated as the primary disseminators of information as regard viral diseases in the country, at exactly 12:22 AM Mar 15, 2020, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) via its official twitter handle @NCDCgov tweeted
“The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control is aware of the patient in Enugu, suspected to have #COVID19. This is one of several alerts received daily at the National #COVID19 Emergency Operations Centre. The patient is in isolation, sample collected and results expected tomorrow.”
At 11:32 PM same day another tweet was released, this time swiftly confirming the lab results to be negative without also informing the general public if the victim was still alive or dead.
“#COVID19Nigeria The laboratory result of the patient in Enugu suspected to have #COVID19 is NEGATIVE. It is important to wait for confirmation from NCDC before spreading information on social media. NCDC will continue to provide updates to the public”
Though a move in the right direction, the Enugu State Governor’s announcement for the sum of 20 million Naira to be released shortly after the case was reported came at a rather odd time as the old woman had already been quarantined.
This goes to show that the state government and the NCDC through its state offices may not have been fully prepared to handle cases of the dreaded virus ravaging the world since December 2019 despite ongoing efforts to sensitize Nigerian and eradicate the pandemic as critiques especially the daughter of the deceased 70-year-old woman who tested negative opine that the environment, staff behaviour and unpreparedness of the Enugu State government led to the death of her mother.
“In my opinion, that is a little too late as strategies for dealing with the Corona Virus pandemic should have been put in place before now. It should not have taken my mother’s suspected case to prompt an action from the government.”
She, however, appealed to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to ensure that the funds are properly used as the purpose of her letter was to make sure that no other person will have to go through what her mother experienced which eventually led to her death.