Highlights Of Submissions By Dr. Osagie Ehanire On NTA's "Weekend File"
Highlights of submissions by the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire on NTA’s “Weekend File” of Saturday, 2nd of May, 2020 with the topic ‘Strengthening Nigeria’s Health System amidst COVID-19’.
• On testing, case management of positive cases and treatment, the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire disclosed that Federal Ministry of Health and the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 is aware that the Country has moved into the Community Transmission Phase of the pandemic and as such have formulated the National Response Plan to address the community transmission phase;
• Space to isolate positive cases to prevent further spread – Dr. Ehanire said bed space for accommodating those who test positive to COVID-19 in isolation is a challenge since Federal Ministry of Health and its Agencies and partners have ramped up the test capacity of the nation and more positive cases are being found;
• The Honourable Minister said, in FCT, the problem of accommodation for isolation have been fairly overcome but in the States, there are challenges in this area, hence
• The National Council on Health (The highest policy advisory organ on health, composed of the Honourable Ministers of Health and Honourable Commissioners of Health of the States, is scheduled for Tuesday, 5th of May, 2020) to discuss the challenges facing the nation;
• Dr. Osagie Ehanire also declared that there has been improvement in the capacity of Technical Team to respond to the health issues of Nigerians with regards to the pandemic;
• The Honourable Minister of Health also disclosed that Nigeria has a fairly good stock of Personal Protective Equipment and ventilators (even when there is a global shortage of this), “We acquired some stock through donations and we also placed orders to acquire more”;
• On local production of some of the equipment, Dr. Ehanire revealed that “We have people who submitted prototypes for local production, including Government Companies; we are looking into all options to produce domestically. We have got the protocols for making the resources available and we are ready to sign production agreement.”
• The Honourable Minister of Health also emphasized that testing having been ramped up, findings of COVID-19 positive cases are increasing and those who are positive need to be in isolation, “but in most cases, they disappear.”
• Dr. Ehanire said contact-racing is challenging but “going on fairly well.”
• The Health Minister said that in the knowledge that the nation is in the community phase of transmission of the disease and that patients still need to be cared for regarding other disease challenges even at the grassroots level, the National Primary Health Development Agency (NPHDA) “which has many primary health care facilities at grassroots level in every political ward, is being involved and deployed to involve over 3, 000 community health care workers to help in community mobilization, awareness creation and to counter rumours and fake news”;
• Of States claiming to be free of COVID-19 positive cases, Dr. Ehanire said: “We are seeking to be sure that they are indeed free; things need to be verified, we are doing that.”
• Dr. Ehanire disclosed that there is an ongoing collaboration between Federal Ministry of Health, National Centre for Disease Control and Federal Ministry of Information and Culture on COVID-19 awareness creation;
• On the situation in Kano State, the Honourable Minister of Health admitted that Kano present the Federal Ministry of Health and the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 with concern, but fact-finding mission was despatched to engage with Kano State Government and the States COVID-19 Response Team.
• On recognition of and development of local treatment regimen, the Honourable Minister had this to say: “We refer those who have some of these claims to efficacious medications and mixtures; we refer to the appropriate authorities. We have a Department of Traditional and Complimentary Medicine for those who say they have the herbs. And we also have the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Development (NIPRD) which also could help look into what the claims are; because we it is necessary we are sure before we start administering things to people. We shall be glad to use what we have locally.”