Submissions Of The HMH During Q&A Session At The PTF Briefing On Monday, 4th May 2020
During the questions and answer session, the following questions came to the fore for the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 Press briefing of Monday, 4th May, 2020.
On the plight of some children in Bauchi who were reportedly suffering from severe malnutrition and are in need of Ready to Use Therapeutic Foods (RTF)
The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire described the reported situation as “saddening and regrettable” if the account is accurate.
The Minister said the need for RTF is a treatment procedure for malnutrition and it is obtained in hospitals and “If the children have been in the hospitals, they would have readily access the RTF”, the Minister said.
On whether Federal Ministry of Health can vouch safe for the quality of ventilators from China?
The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire said ventilators were procured from many countries. He said “Even the ones that are produced locally here, have to be verified as fit by authorities here, if they are brands that have been in use that they have been using before, there could be some reservation, National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) certified them all and this applies to everyone....,we don’t discriminate.
On the insinuation that some category of health care workers, the Laboratory scientists are discontented with the insurance policy for healthcare workers which subordinated them to the medical doctors and may resort to strike.
The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire said he is not aware that the Medical Lab scientists were thinking of going on strike as his last interaction with them did not indicate any such discontent and that they are thinking of strike. “We discussed some of the issues raised and I clarified them and they left quite happy.”
On primary health care centres
Dr. Ehanire emphatically said “This is the time when primary health care comes in very strongly.” At the beginning, he said we were dealing with imported disease. “Port Health Services came very strongly being at the fore front helping to identify those coming in with suspected symptoms. “But now, that most of the cases are those being transmitted by those at the grassroots, the primary health care with works in the grassroots will help us very strongly with public enlightenment and also tell people to come for tests, pushing the agenda very strongly. More so, primary health care will work with the community health workers, many of them, we have workers who work with the polio vaccination programme, about 5, 000 of them who worked with the polio legacy programme.”
On the spike of COVID-19 positives among health workers
The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire asked for people to recall that there has been almost no time he gave his address at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 Press Briefing without warning his colleagues in the health sector to be careful as “COVID-19 is a highly infectious disease, it is one of the most easily transmitted disease you can think of... even when it has high survivability rate, it can cripple the most sophisticated health systems. So, I always warn...be careful when you are dealing with suspected cases....I don’t mean that you should drive them away, give them necessary advice.., if you have personal protective equipment, put it on, if you have gloves, put them on, if you have lab coats, put them on. Don’t work on patients like you used to do and think that you are safe because you are the doctor. This virus has no respect for anyone at all.”
“Whether the spike is due to anything, I can’t tell you but obviously because the work those health care workers do, they are closer to the risk. That’s why their hazard allowance was looked into. There is not replacement to life...use your protective equipment, don’t turn patients away, see what you can do to help them, know that Corona Virus is not the only disease there is, there is still malaria, there is still other ailments out there. We still need you to attend to other patients; don’t disappear because Corona came in.”