Abuja: Panic creeps in as UATH raises alarm over Marburg, COVID-1
Though the hospital is nearly 50 kilometers from the city center, panic is gradually creeping in as residents of Abuja became aware of an internal memo circulated for the consumption of University of Abuja Teaching Hospital staff.
The panic is spreading to the city, courtesy of the mainstream and social media, which are publishing it far and wide.
However, the panic was not observed by Everyday.ng reporter who was on ground in the hospital and Gwagwalada town for hours. Many in the sleepy town were not aware of the memo. It was business as usual in the hospital as workers and patients went about, a large number without face masks or any form of protective gear.
Except for some staff of the hospital, who did brisk business selling the masks, which they insisted visitors procure for N100 each, at the main entrance to the wards, there were no other indications on Sunday of enforcement of medical protocols.
Visitors strode in and out of wards, and walked up and down corridors, without enforcers in place.
The Friday memo, by the deputy director (Information), Mr. Sani M. Suleiman, titled ; “Outbreak of Marburg Disease and COVID-19 Infections,” read: “The management of University of Abuja Teaching Hospital wishes to notify the entire hospital community of an outbreak of Marburg disease and upsurge in COVID-19 infection.
“Consequently, the attention of all Head of Departments and members of staff is hereby drawn to ensure adequate surveillance and hygiene by observing all protocols of prevention.
“Please circularise for more information as ‘prevention is better than cure.’
“More details will be sent on our various social media platforms on the OUTBREAK in due course…”
However, the spokesman was quoted later in a newspaper that there was no cause for alarm as no outbreak of the disease had been reported in Nigeria or in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
He said the internal memo was merely a health advisory intended for the staff of the hospital.
“This is supposed to be an internal memo meant only for the management and staff but released to the public. It was simply meant to caution the workers against abandoning the protocols.
“I wrote that memo to sensitise the people in the hospital but I think by Monday, we will probably take measures to explain further for people to understand. So it is not like there is an outbreak in Nigeria or in the FCT.”