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  HOME PAGE 31/03/2020 11:12 
25.03.2020 17:12 News >> COVID-19: 'Nigeria Must Protect Vulnerable Population'

COVID-19: 'Nigeria Must Protect Vulnerable Population'

Global rights group says Nigeria needs to prepare for 'worst of the crisis'

Nigeria must ensure access to health services "on an equitable basis" and pay particular attention to displaced and vulnerable people while dealing with the coronavirus outbreak, an international rights group said on Wednesday.
"The Nigerian government should ensure that its response to the COVID-19 pandemic is rooted in respect for human rights by ensuring access to standard health care services, clean water, and other necessities to the most vulnerable communities," Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report.
"The services should be available on an equitable basis to those in low-income neighborhoods and internally displaced people's camps."
The report noted a "sharp increase" in COVID-19 cases in Nigeria, which rose to 44 from eight in just a week, and urged authorities to prepare for the "worst of the crisis."
"At this critical time, the authorities need to provide timely and accurate information on the country's preparedness and address inconsistencies that may increase the vulnerability of its citizens, especially those most at risk," the report said about over 1.8 million internally displaced people and over seven million Nigerians in need of urgent aid, including food, water, and health care.
"Given these underlying poor health conditions and lack of access to essential services in the camps, displaced people face an especially high risk of COVID-19 mortality. Some steps have been taken to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the camps, but much more needs to be done."
HRW said the actual number of cases in the country could be much higher and remain unreported due to limited testing capacity.
"With only five testing laboratories in the country, three of them in [the capital] Lagos, the capacity for quick testing is limited and currently only available to those who have recently traveled internationally or had contact with those confirmed or suspected to have the virus," read the report.
The rights group warned that following public health advisories on COVID-19 would be difficult for Nigerians in low-income neighborhoods or camps for internally displaced people, where "people live in congested spaces with little or no access to necessities, including water."
Nigerian authorities have yet to respond to the HRW report. -



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