By Anayo Ezugwu
OSAGIE Ehanire, minister of health, has called states and local governments to cooperate with the Nigeria Centre for Decease Control, NCDC, in conducting more targeted testing. He says the country needs to raise the sample collection rate to increase testing to a desired rate and to report promptly.
Speaking at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 national briefing on Monday, September 21, Ehanire said Nigeria was still far from the target of 2 million tests. In this regard, he said the country needed to support states with community volunteers for contact tracing, case finding and investigation. “While stepping up surveillance and case finding, states can also ensure that suspected symptomatic COVID-19 cases are sent for treatment in time or supported before then with medical oxygen, to save lives and reduce fatalities,” he said.
According to Ehanire, the recommended criteria for testing are: persons who have been in contact with a COVID-19 positive patient or are associated with a cluster of persons of interest, those who have any of the 4 classical symptoms of fever, persistent cough, loss of sense of taste or smell and breathlessness; anyone facing surgery, as well as for any other compelling reason. “Testing for travel is assigned to private laboratories.
“The distribution of oxygen concentrators and ventilators to various health institutions commenced with training of about 176 intensive care specialists, and biomedical engineers, who will use or maintain them in the hospitals. The ventilators and training are courtesy of the United States government and shall complement what we have at our ICUs.
“With regard to COVID-19 and growing complacency, it is important to stress that, even though adults, especially those 60 years and above are more vulnerable, complications do occur in all age groups. Records show that 10% of all positive cases we have treated are below the age of 19 years.
They are also the same mobile group that can be without symptons, but can easily spread the disease. Therefore, as schools begin to reopen in some areas, I urge caution and adherence to the protocols and advisories for reopening schools, in order join us to prevent covid surge.
“I commend fellow health workers in JOHESU, for putting an end to their industrial action. It is my desire to work with them to resolve issues of concern. I also remind everyone that COVID-19 is with us for the foreseeable future, as DG of WHO has advised, with no definitive cure in sight. People are still being infected and are dying from it. Some countries are imposing or considering new lockdowns or other restrictions because of the second wave. As we reopen our economy, it is time for us to take preventive measures even more seriously. I have directed all our hospitals to be alert and watch for an unusual increase in the number of persons reporting at our hospital as an Emergency Center.
“We all must take responsibility for each other by wearing our simple face masks, especially in public places, ensuring physical distancing and respiratory hygiene. Those with preexisting illness and COVID-19 evocative symptoms should report for treatment as soon as possible.”
– Sept. 22, 2020 @ 17:15 GMT |