Highlights Of Response By The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire During The Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 Press Briefing held on Thursday, 21st May, 2020

Waivers on anything that has to do with COVID-19:
Dr. Ehanire admitted that there are waivers that will be given straight away for anything that has to do with COVID-19.  While medication brought in for commercial purposes or businesses have the rates to pay to the Customs, the routine medication and drugs that have been donated by organizations for the use of the poor and vulnerable, one can apply for a rebate. “It doesn’t depend on what you are exporting but on the purpose and the destination”, he said.

Is war against Covid-19 not affecting cares for other diseases:
To the question of the war against COVID-19 affecting other diseases, the Honourable Minister said the main reason is that “people are too focused on COVID-19 that they actually forget that other diseases are there.”  “Also, where a few health-care workers were infected, they deserted their positions out of fear, such that people who had other problems such as malaria or those going for ante-natal care and immunization began to suffer the brunt.”  “This is the reason the government is reminding health care workers that the continuation of essential services and routine services is important. Ministerial teams from the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Family Health Department and representatives of Public Health are presently stimulating routine service delivery outside of Abuja.”

Evacuees compliance with COVID-19 protocol:
On issues of evacuees’ compliance, Dr. Ehanire said that those who are leaving foreign countries to return to Nigeria will be made to understand that they are going to be quarantined for 14 days, and in some case they are made to sign that they understand and accept such as a condition for being allowed to board a flight. It is believed that as gentlemen and ladies, they will keep to their words and comply with the terms of the agreement instead of later trying to abscond.  

On issues with Kogi State:
The Honourable Minister said that he has a good relationship with the Governor of Kogi State and will be speaking with him.  He stated that the first trip was not successful but believed that the second one will be.  The trip to Cross River State he said went very well.  He added that Cross River State has produced a lot of masks and also that compliance with the wearing of mask is very high.

On mental health issues suffered by some patients during isolation:
He said that issues arising from mental health in isolation are under consideration especially for those who stay a little bit longer.  This, he stated is very well developed in Lagos State because they have been at it for a longer time while other States are advised to encourage psychologists to create avenues to give distractions for those who are in isolation.

On need for special treatment of COVID-19 positive patients living with disabilities:
Dr. Ehanire said that as far as Covid-19 is concerned, disability has nothing to do with it because either you are infected or you are not. “If you are infected, you’ll be given exactly the same treatment, the testing and the surveillance that go equally for everybody”, he said.  “Nobody takes consideration of your physical status so there’s no discrimination according to physical features.”

On hygiene and disinfection of Centres:
The Honourable Minister said that at the isolation centres, particularly ThisDay Dome which is being prepared now for admission, they have a medical superintendent and a team that ensure sanitation protocols for the health care workers. “The system ensures that as you come in and prepare yourself, you’re safely attired to enter and then when you come out, you are safely prepared to go home”, he said.

Eunice Akro
For: Director, Information, Media & Public Relations.

FMOH Agencies

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