Nigerian Archbishop Allays Fears over Access to Hospitals Offered for COVID-19 Patients

Archbishop Alfred Adewale Martins of Nigeria's Lagos Archdiocese.

The Archbishop of Lagos in Nigeria has sought to allay fears of people who are reluctant to access the Catholic run health facilities in the Archdiocese following the announcement that the government can use the health centers to give care to COVID-19 patients.

“The facilities remain open as usual and will continue to offer the quality services that they offer in a safe and secure environment,” Archbishop Alfred Adewale Martins said May 12 and added, “Let no one entertain the fear that they would contract Coronavirus by using any of our facilities.”

This follows the May 11 announcement by Nigeria’s Chairman of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 that Catholic Bishops in the West African country had offered the government “full access” to their health facilities to be used as coronavirus isolation centers.

The collective decision by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference to Nigeria (CBCN) to avail the over 400 Catholic hospitals and clinics in Africa’s most populous country to the government toward the care of COVID-19 patients had been communicated on April 8.

This “has generated anxiety” among people with other ailments who have expressed their reluctant to access the Catholic health facilities for fear of contracting COVID-19.


To allay these fears, Archbishop Adewale has said in his May 12 statement, “We urge all our Archdiocesan health institutions to go about their normal activities and those who use them to be assured that they are safe and secure when they come to our premises.”

Regarding the use of the health facilities to care for COVID-19 patients, the Nigerian Prelate clarified, “We would like to state clearly that the health facilities would be used for that purpose only if State Governments formally request for their use from the Jurisdictions concerned and if it is mutually agreed that the facilities are suitable for the purpose.”

In the statement published on the Archdiocese’s Facebook Page, the 61-year-old Prelate added, “So far, the Archdiocese has not been approached for the use of any of our health facilities. If and when the request is made and there is an agreement for its use, there would be adequate information given to everyone concerned.”

“We shall continue to pray that God would grant success to the ongoing efforts at containing the spread of this pandemic,” the Archbishop Martins implored.

On Twitter, Wale Adetona reacted to the realization that there were more than 400 Catholic-owned hospitals in the West African country and posted, “I never knew Catholic Church has as (many) as 425 Hospitals in Nigeria. Wow! Doctors on the TL (timeline), how many Government Hospitals do we have in Nigeria? I want to check something.”

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According to Twitter user, Cubes, “The federal government owns 151 hospitals which is only 0.88 percent of the total percentage of the hospitals.”

He expounded, “These include 54 federal tertiary hospitals comprising 20 teaching hospitals, 22 federal medical centers, 3 national orthopedic hospitals, the National Eye Centre, the National ENT Centre and 7 psychiatric hospitals.”

“Better don't embarrass us, in my community in Ijebu north to be precise we have two Catholic hospitals and only one general hospital in the whole senatorial district,” Olayemi Agarau replied.

For Olebantu, Catholic hospitals in Nigeria are “not just anyhow hospitals” but “standard ones and world class eye clinics,” a post to which Uthman ibn Abdul Razaq replied, “St Matthew's hospital Amukoko has been taking care of deliveries and child treatment before I was born; virtually 80% of kids born in Amukoko, Badia and a part of Ajegunle have stepped their feet or head into that hospital... both Muslims and Christians are both attended to equally.”