Demand for pregnancy and immunisation services has halved in Nigeria since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the country’s health minister.
Osagie Ehanire has hinted that the lockdown measures were partly responsible, but didn’t detail other causes for the drop in outpatient numbers.
The head of the Nigerian Medical Association, Francis Faduyile, told the BBC the 50% drop in immunisation services, ante-natal care and outpatient visits could place women, children and the elderly at higher risk.
But the health minister said the government was trying to ensure all routine health services return to normal.
Reports from across the country indicate that many patients are avoiding hospitals for fear of contracting coronavirus, while some are seeking advice over the phone from their doctors.
Plus, many private hospitals and clinics have closed.