A US-based Nigerian doctor has revealed how he was infected of the COVID-19 while doing his job.
He is, therefore, warning his colleagues to be circumspect about their protection routine.
The Nephrologist in Bronx, New York City (name withheld) revealed that he was infected during a ZOOM meeting with 20 other African medical practitioners.
According to him, he became a coronavirus patient because of his unguarded examination of an asymptomatic patient using a face mask he had used more than once.
Coughing heavily as he spoke, he said: “When I came in contact with the patient I was wearing a surgical mask, gloves and apron.
“I had used the face mask about two to three days. I was careful not to touch the surface.
“I cannot remember if I washed my face after seeing the patient; I don’t know if it contributed to how I got the infection.”
While advising doctors to prepare ahead, he also urged them to educate their families on the necessary prevention tips.
“The day I confirmed I had COVID-19 I had done what I had to do on the home side. You can have all the PPE (personal protective equipment) there is; if you are taking it off and you don’t do it appropriately, you will run into trouble.
“Avoid touching surfaces; wash your hands; wash your face.”
The meeting which was anchored by Dr. Ona Utuama, a hospitalist and public health researcher practicing in the U.S. also drew participants from U.K, other parts of the US, South Africa, Ghana and Nigeria.
Among those who joined from Nigeria were the Special Adviser to the Anambra State Governor on Health, Dr Simeon Onyemachi; and Team Leader for COVID-19 response at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Dr. Benson Okwara.
After getting an insight into the situation, Dr. Utuama is therefore urging doctors to demand for PPE from hospital authorities rather than manage whatever inadequate equipment they are given.
“Ask your hospital to provide. If you are a health worker you need the best type of protection you can get,” he said.
Another participant from the meeting, Dr. Anthony Nebor from Detroit also advised doctors to limit their exposure while treating patients by going to them only when necessary as the virus spends substantial time in the air.
“Studies have shown that this virus can be in the air for up to three hours. For the dreaded Tuberculosis it is about 30 minutes. If you don’t have adequate protection, you should not see patients.
: “I stand for use of PPE once and discard. I am still a bit sceptical about disinfection,” he said.
The group generally agreed that Tele- medicine was a way hospitals could use to reduce face-to-face meetings with patients.
This same sentiment was shared by Dr Ufuoma Okotete, an Abuja-based physician.
“Tele-Medicine was the way to go. Sixty percent of hospital visits are not necessary,” she said.