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Nigeria: Indian doctors wish to leave

Indian doctors in Nigeria were not being “forced to treat Ebola patients” as some news reports had claimed on Tuesday, The Hindu has learnt. Speaking to this newspaper, the doctors however expressed their fear of the gradual spread of the Ebola outbreak in Nigeria and wanted to “immediately return to India”.

But even as the doctors requested intervention from the Indian High Commission in Nigeria to facilitate their return, hospital authorities accused the doctors’ of abdicating their responsibility towards patients during an epidemic.

The five doctors — Kapil Chauhan, Dinesh Kumar, Hemant Jingar, Yogesh Chandra and Rakesh Lakra — in turn accused authorities of the Primus International Super Speciality Hospital in Abuja of threatening them and withholding their passports.

“No, we are not being forced to treat Ebola patients because there have not been any Ebola cases in Abuja…but there have been in Lagos, which is not far from here,” Hemant Jingar, one of the doctors, told The Hindu on Tuesday.

“Should we wait for the Ebola virus to reach Abuja? We have family waiting for us in India…and we want to go back,” said Dr. Jingar.

The Nigerian health ministry has put the number of Ebola cases in the country at 10, including a nurse who tested positive for the virus over the weekend.

The virus has claimed two lives already while the remaining eight cases are being treated in isolation at Lagos, about 750 km from Abuja.

The Indian doctors said they had approached the Indian High Commission in Abuja where officials assured them of resolving the issue.

“While there have been no Ebola cases in Abuja, we understand the concerns of the doctors. The High Commissioner has talked to the hospital authorities and they have assured us that the issue would be resolved at the earliest,” MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said.

However, the hospital authorities, including the Director and a business executive, rubbished the accusations, saying the doctors were turning their backs on their moral and ethical responsibilities.

“These are false allegations. There are 40-50 other Indians working with us but none of them has had any issues. These five suddenly came to us on Saturday and demanded their passports be returned immediately. We tried to discuss the situation with them along with our other Indian officials but they refused to understand,” Sunny Ukachukwuu, director of the hospital told The Hindu.

“Let me assure you, no one is holding their passports back. We have just asked them to fulfil their duties and responsibilities towards their patients in the ICU first,” said Mr. Ukachukwuu.

Chapter five of the Indian Medical Council (Professional conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002, says, “When an epidemic occurs a physician should not abandon his duty for fear of contracting the disease himself.”

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Printable version | Nov 26, 2020 9:14:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/indian-doctors-not-forced-to-treat-ebola-cases-nigeria/article6309609.ece

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