COVID-19: Experts say pediatricians with highest cases of infection at UCH

CONTRARY to the stories making the round that all doctors at the employment of the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, had contracted COVID-19, chairman, University College Hospital Taskforce on COVID-19 pandemic, Dr Uwom Eze says only 49 doctors representing 4.5 per cent of all doctors at the hospital had contracted the infection in the last two weeks.

Dr Eze, who spoke at the January 2021 Continue Medical Education series of the Nigerian Medical Association with the theme “COVID-19 pandemic and the Nigerian Doctor-The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”, said about 140 doctors at the hospital had been infected by the infection since the pandemic started in March, 2020 in the country.

According to Dr Eze, of the 140 doctors that tested positive till 24th January, 2021, 2.5 per cent, 1.3 per cent and 0.9 per cent had tested positive in pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology as well as the Accident and Emergency Unit of the hospital respectively.

Eze, who declared that most of the cases had mild to moderate symptoms of the infection, said so far, no current UCH staff member had died of COVID-19 since the pandemic started.

He, however, called for more covid-19 testing for doctors and other frontline health workers as part of measures to increase level of testing in the country, engender data to ensure appropriate steps are taken to stem the pandemic among health workers and other vulnerable groups as well as ascertain if there is actually a second COVID-19 wave in the country.

According to him, “Once, to have a baseline; then a repeat test in a month to evaluate outlook. If positive rate is increasing, to increase frequency to repeat the test to 2 weeks but if positive rate is decreasing, frequency of testing is reduced to once in 2 months to assess the trend and act.”

Dr Eze, however, urged increased commitment from Nigerian doctors to stem the pandemic, even as he called for a synergistic information system that can stem the myths and misconceptions on COVID-19 in the community and ensure better compliance to COVID-19 prevention protocol.

Meanwhile, Professor Christian Happi, geneticist and director of the African Center of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) at Redeemer’s University in Ede, said the laboratory has identified 43 different lineages of SARS-CoV-2 virus in circulation within Nigeria.

According to him, in December 2020, the laboratory identified the highly contagious COVID-19 variant B117, first reported in Britain, in a positive sample collected on December 29 from a patient in Abuja.

He added that the laboratory is currently analyzing samples from across Nigeria to determine the spread of the UK contagious COVID-19 variant B117.

Professor Happi, however, declared that the South African strain is not yet found by the laboratory in Nigeria.

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