By Joy Odor
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire says Nigeria has carried out 183,294 COVID-19 tests, 28,296 ot them within the week as 32,558 persons in total have been confirmed positive.
He added tha 13,447 covid-19 cases have been so far been treated successfully and discharged while regrettably recorded 740 fatalities.
The Minister said the high figures within the past week compared to the previous weeks, suggest an increase in the pace of testing but also in infection incidence.
Dr. Ehanire said the aim is to reduce the fatalities by ensuring that those defined as vulnerable are protected with non pharmaceutical measures and prioritized for admission to observation or treatment centers, even if they do not yet have symptoms.
From reports of the activation of sample collection sites in FCT, the minister said, the laboratory through put will increase, as will the number of positives until, the curve flattens at a yet unknown time.
Dr Ehanire was of the opinion that this strategy is to be replicated in other States of the Federation. Increasing bed space at State levels will continue to be advocated.
According to him, the expected increase in positives would not be dramatic, if there were better adherence by citizens to all advisories and if we all determine to take ownership of, and the responsibility for reducing the spread of this disease.
“I emphasize again that conscientious wearing of masks is being confirmed in various studies, as the easiest, cheapest and most reliable way to check the rate of spread.
“Some countries have made it mandatory by law and imposed a fine for non compliance.
“Regular washing of hands, avoiding crowds, social distancing and use of minimum of 65% alcohol based sanitizers remain as relevant as at the beginning.
“13,447 covid19 cases have been so far been treated and successfully and discharged in Nigeria and we have regrettably recorded 740 fatalities.
“Our aim is to reduce the fatalities by ensuring that those defined as vulnerable are protected with non pharmaceutical measures and prioritized for admission to observation or treatment centers, even if they do not yet have symptoms.
“The 17 man team of the Federal Ministry of Health that was deployed to Calabar to engage with the Cross River State government in setting up their covid19 response and aligning it with the national response, has returned to Abuja, after a successful mission led by the Executive Director of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency.
“The team comprised staff of Depts. of Family Health, Port Health Services, Public Health, Food & Drugs Services, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration & Control, Representatives of Standards Organization of Nigeria and the Nigeria Immigration Service.
“They had useful interaction with the Cross Rivers State government and were able to address all areas of concern and interest to the Federal Government and also to the Cross river State Government.
The Federal Ministry of Health will encourage and prioritize patronage of locally made commodities which meet the minimum specification.
“With this successful constructive engagement, I am pleased to report that Cross River State is now aligned with the Federal Ministry of Health COVID-19 response and has started reporting on the national dashboard.
“We have activated the GeneExpert machine at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital to increase testing capacity in the state and NCDC has resumed deployment of rapid response teams to provide technical assistance to their Public Health EOC to strengthen their incident management system.
“Following the intervention of the ministerial team with the Cross River State Branch of the Nigeria Medical Association officials, issues that led to the withdrawal of medical services by the doctors in the State were resolved and the strike action has been called off.
“We plan to replicate this success with other States where the need for policy alignment is found wanting.
“News of the local development of RNA extraction kits and its validation has been relayed to me.
“I am very proud of this development, which I have asked NCDC to evaluate because it will be a further step in reducing dependence on imported commodities.
“I hope our researchers continue with this trend and can be assured of the support of the Federal Ministry of Health.
“NIPRID has also applied for financial support to continue its research on the efficacy of Artemisia annual combination in treatment of COVID-19, which I hope will resonate with sponsors.
“The ThisDay Done treatment Center has joined the list of testing centers and will soon be open fortreatment as soon as hospitality services are secured.
“The renovation of Agura Hotel will begin very soon, as an additional Observation center for Level 1 and selected Level 2 cases.
“This will increase FCT capacity considerably.