A 70-year-old woman kept in isolation at a facility in Enugu after being suspected of having Coronavirus has died.
In a letter to the governor of the state on Wednesday, Ifeanyi Ugwanyi, the family of the victim said to have just returned to Nigeria from the United Kingdom, accused the state government of having no facilities to care for COVID-19 cases, thereby causing her death.
The family also accused staff of the state university teaching hospital of stigmatising the victim before her death.
The letter was written by the victim’s daughter, reads, “The 70-year-old woman, who is my mother, unfortunately, passed away on Sunday, March 15, 2020, having tested negative to the aforementioned virus.
“She returned to Nigeria on March 11, 2020 after a five-month trip to the UK to visit her children.
“Whilst the health workers/officials at ESUTH had to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves against this virus, the manner and state at which they treated my mother was inhumane.
“My mother was isolated in a dilapidated environment that seems to have been left uninhabitable over a long period of time.
“The isolation centre in Enugu is an abandoned old section of the hospital where the grass and debris were being cleared whilst my mother was there. The staff at the hospital were unprofessional in the way they handled my mother. She was stigmatised and this made her feel worthless.
“My mother had to spend three days in a dire situation without adequate health care and unsure of what is happening around her. If the result for Covid-19 was ascertained on time, my mother would still be here with us, as she would have been moved to a better-equipped hospital with the right experts to deal with her underlying illnesses.
“My mother died due to the negligence and unpreparedness of the state in putting adequate facilities including staff training in place.
“The new strand of the Coronavirus was detected back in December 2019 and it is absolutely disappointing that there is no appropriate isolation centre in Enugu State.
“After the death of my mother, finding a workable stretcher to move her body was impossible! You would expect any hospital to provide basic facilities such as a stretcher – my mother’s body was carried into the ambulance on a wretched tool.
“Considering that the Covid-19 result proved negative, we can conclude that my mother died due to the following reasons – the state of the said ‘isolation centre’, wrong treatment; stigmatisation due to lack of training in dealing with such cases.”