The International Committee for Red Cross has raised the alarm over increasing impediments to health care delivery due to incessant restrictions and insecurity across the country.
The Red Cross expressed the worry at a workshop themed “Healthcare Delivery in Danger”, organised for journalists as well as Monitoring and Evaluation Officers of healthcare facilities in Awka, the Anambra capital on Saturday, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.
Ms Constancia Amagba, Health Coordinator of ICRC, Anambra Chapter said the danger to healthcare delivery included physical and verbal assault which could affect the comfort or mental balance of a healthcare worker.
Amagba said people who needed medical attention had been denied services because of restrictions of movement including enforcement of curfew and sit-at-home protests.
She said kidnapping and violence against healthcare workers compromised the functioning of the system and caused harm to the sick and wounded.
According to her, any act of verbal or physical violence or obstruction or threat of violence that interferes with the availability, access and delivery of curative and/or preventive health services during emergencies is a danger to healthcare.
“We should respect the sick and wounded, everyone deserves access to health care at all times. Healthcare workers can only work when they are safe, so do not bring weapons into healthcare facilities and do not fire weapons in the proximity of a healthcare facility,” she said.
The health coordinator said the primary concern of ICRC was a timely response to emergencies and saving lives which was the right of everybody including suspects.
She said denying gunshot injury victims treatment for want of police reports and impeding movement of ambulances whether conveying patients or empty was against the law guiding the sector.
According to her, patients must benefit from impartial health care required by their condition as rapidly as possible.
“No threats against or harassment of healthcare professionals performing activities in line with ethical principles of health care. No attacks against healthcare workers performing their healthcare function and no undue delay to, or denial of, the passage of medical transports,” Amagba said.
Also speaking, Mr Fidelis Ikeji, Communications Officer of Red Cross in Anambra called on journalists to help in the enlightenment and advocacy for unhindered access of medical workers to patients who needed them.
Ikeji said the workshop would also be organised for security agencies, medical doctors and other health workers as well as other stakeholders to enable them to understand their roles in healthcare delivery.