Highlights of the response of the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire to questions raised by Media Representatives at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 Press Briefing of Friday, 15th May, 2020.
Deaths in Kano and other places:
The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire said death which people couldn’t explain, occurred in Kano as well as in other places like Azare in Bauchi State but, that pathologist from eight States have been re-trained and dispatched to get to work to unravel those ‘misery’ of deaths in those places.
“There were deaths in other places, Azare, Zamfara, there are just the ones that have been mentioned openly. The training has gone on for the pathologist to go to attend not only to the ones that are known but to the ones that are not yet known or reported. It must be stated that as I stated yesterday they have been some reduction in the activities of treating routine cases, because of the scare of COVID-19; there has been a reduction, hospital attendance has dropped; maternity attendance has dropped; skill birth attendance; immunization has dropped and as a result of that, we do worry; with connection directly or indirectly in connection with the corona virus, it would be indirect if a person couldn't go to get help in the hospital because of the fear of corona virus or doctors refusing to attend to some persons; so, that was that..
On hazard allowance set date/start date:
“The Secretary to the Government and Chair will take that question and answer that one.”
On the complains about the type of treatment patients get at the Isolation Centres:
“We have said here that those who are positive for corona virus and either have no symptoms at all, but they have mild symptoms; the ones who are critical may get full attention, they may require ventilator, some might require dialysis; those are the real critical ones; they require critical care doctors; the others who are severe and have shortness of breath can get oxygen and are supposed to be on I.V. drips and those with mild symptoms will also get mild treatment; symptomatic treatment, what we call supportive treatment, something to relieve headache and others who have nothing at all who can be given just some treatment, is different and people who expect that when they are in hospital they must be given medicine, sometimes they are surprised, when not given medicine, because one thing you must remember is that somebody comes in without symptoms and is positive, it can change at any time, it can become severe, there are cases where moderate mild symptoms suddenly becomes severe and the picture changes. So, being in hospital for observation alone by itself is important even if you didn't have any symptoms.
On the issue of the foreign doctors:
“I don't think that anybody has ever reported that they saw Nigerians being treated in a hospital by a foreign doctor, there is nowhere, where this treatment is going on. It has not been reported in any of the treatment centres at all, that you saw foreign doctors, all the treatments are done by Nigerians and it's done according to the program which we laid down. So I think that takes care of the question in that we are not using foreign doctors at all, here in Nigeria.”
On non-compliance with guidelines:
“Well I think the SGF will take that because it has to do with questions of discipline and organization” – Dr. Ehanire.
On financial responsibility for Medical Care:
“Ok. Well, part of it is answered. Medical care is done by the hospitals, by the doctors, they take care of the patients and the nurses and other health care givers, they take care of all the patients in the hospital, but if you mean who pays for it, I don't know if that's what you mean. So, okay it is a combined effort, I think some States pay and the Federal Government supports, but again, the head of the PTF will answer that on how the payments are being made as and are supported by the Federal doctors, Teaching Hospitals, Federal Medical Centres and Primary Centres; the particularly severe cases are treated in Isolation Centres; there is a joint effort with the State Governments.”
On the Chinese Medical Team:
What I stated yesterday is that first of all, they didn't come here at the invitation of the Federal Ministry of Health, we are not the ones who brought them, they are here with their company CCECC. That is what I stated, that's what I know, we didn't apply for them, but we have also seized the opportunity to have interactions online to be able to say how did you treat cases, how did you do to take care of your severe cases, take care of your mild cases?, they used traditional medicines in some places but there is no face to face meeting at all with them. We didn't have any face to face meeting.”
For: Director, Information.