Highlight of response by the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire to questions raised by Media Representatives at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 on Tuesday, 12th May, 2020
On the patient from Benue who refused follow-up necessary testing:
The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire stated that, the patient is due for another test and we definitely believed by now, she must have tested negative but we also work with guidelines released by WHO which we follow but we ought to document it. I called her on phone and persuaded her to just let them take the test. And, she gave the condition that first, they must give her all her results from the past then she will agree just to take the specimen. And I gave instruction; they took all her results, photocopied all of them and gave to her. But on the day of the test, when NCDC got there, she told them that she wanted the test to be taken by World Health Organization and then that the test should not be done in Nigeria; that it should be sent to the UK to get the test done and that seem to be a very difficult order. She also demanded that the specimen be taken in by the WHO”. It was reported to me and I called her again and asked why she changed her condition; she request for her results and she was given and she sent a text that I should consult her Lawyer. It is only just to document that she is doing quite well and in good health.
On health workers who have been infected with COVID-19:
With regard to health workers who have been infected with COVID-19, they were tested and re-tested and then usually given a clean bill of thealth before they are certified fit to resume work. The Minister stated that he cannot give a direct figure or count as they are not in the same place.
On accreditation of hospitals:
With regards to accreditation of hospitals, we have developed a protocol for the accreditation and have been given to many of the States and we have special teams to go along to help, like the team referred to Kano, had already been to four states in the north to help set up their accreditations. Government Hospitals, Teaching hospitals have been examined and accredited.
Still on Kano:
With regards to the investigation on Kano, the team is carrying out a very scientific investigation; they take all the evidence that they want, sit down and collate the results to ensure that there is no room for error. The report is yet to reach him, but he believes it’s in the pipeline.
With regards to other unexplained death in other States, I told the team to invite pathologists from many of the States who are reporting the deaths and to have Council training in Kano. So they got pathologists from Sokoto, Bauchi and Jigawa States and so far about four pathologists have arrived Kano to develop protocol and hands-on training by which they can carry now out these investigations in the area these deaths are occurring. As I speak to you, the team is in Azare, Bauchi doing just that. Where there’s need for samples to be taken, they take and send it for test, and they have been doing just that. Katsina State has been identified as one the States with needs in the area of backlog of sample taken for test and we are looking at the mobile laboratory for that State.
On Hazard Allowance for Healthcare workers:
Hazard Allowance has been worked for all the health workers; the NMA were present, consultants were present and the bill has been signed and it is now with the Minister of Finance for processing.
On the procurement of test kits:
With regard regards to the procurement of testing kit, anybody is free to procure test kits but the Ministry of Health has said that the validity of rapid diagnostic kits is not guaranteed, it is not very reliable. So the acceptability of such result is questionable.
On the issue of Cross River State:
With regards to Cross River State, we are waiting for flights to be able to go to Calabar. We have had a good discussion with his Excellency, Governor Ben Ayade; we have worked out a plan to the Ministry of Health including NCDC, Primary Health Care to go into Calabar.
On the infected health workers who have been treated and awaiting re-certification to get back to work:
With regards to health workers who tested positive have been treated, tested and retested before they were cerfied fit to resume work. I can’t give them direct numbers because they are not in one place and can’t also know how many they are.
On accreditation of hospitals:
With regards to accreditation of hospitals, we have developed protocol for the accreditation and have been given to many of the states and we have special teams to go along to states to help, like the team referred to Kano, had already been to four states in the north to help.
On hazard allowance
Hazard Allowance has been worked for all the health workers which is now with the Minister of Finance and none of them is complaining.
Compilation by Blessing Egbo (Senior Information Officer)
For: Director of Information.