Sanction awaits any health facility that fails to report suspected cases of Lassa fever to appropriate quarters in good time,the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) warned yesterday.
“It is quite unethical for any doctor to delay any case in his own facility without referral. We have levels of care in this country, in primary level of care there is specific ailment they are suppose to treat for them to refer to the next level,”Dr Abdulmumini Ibrahim, Registrar of the council , told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
Speaking on the first Lassa fever death in the FCT Ibrahim said the council was yet to receive any complaint from the public on factors that led to death of the victim at the National Hospital.
Ibrahim explained that the council does not rely on ‘’hearsay’ in prosecuting any case, but bases its actions on valid complaints by members of the public.
His words: “we do not work on `hearsay’. There has to be valid complaint by anybody and all the information regarding the complaint is in public domain, and we will pick it up from there.
“So, if anybody should complain and against that hospital we will investigate the case and see what went wrong and bring that that doctor to book,” he said.
Describing the delay in referral of patients with any ailment as unethical, the registrar urged medical practitioners to ensure prompt referral of patients to appropriate hospitals for proper medical care or improved services.
The first death recorded in Abuja metropolis as a result of Lassa fever occurred on Jan. 13, after the victim spent about a week at the Kubwa private hospital in the FCT.
The 33-year-old man from Plateau was unconscious before he was referred to the National Hospital Abuja.
He said that private hospitals and clinics are not expected to keep any fever patient unduly,saying: “any fever that is being treated between 48 to 72 hours should vanish, whether it is malaria, typhoid or fever emanating from cancer .
“At your own level if you start treating and investigating any patient and realise that is a case you cannot handle then you refer that case rather than allowing the patient’s condition to deteriorate,” Ibrahim said.
The council is charged with the responsibility of regulating the practice of medicine, dentistry and alternative medicine in the most efficient manner that safeguards best healthcare delivery for the populace.