Highlight Of Response By Honourable Minister Of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire During The Presidential Task Force On COVID-19 Press Briefing Held On Monday, June 8, 2020

On home-care management for COVID-19 patients:
The Honourable Minister of Health Dr. Osagie Ehanire explained that home care management of COVID-19 patients is the last option to be resorted to. “Home care in COVID-19 management is something like a last card.  It is an option to consider in a situation where you have many cases turning up at Isolation and Treatment centers when they are full; then you start considering other options.”

He also stated that the COVID-19 symptoms manifest in many ways: Up to 80% will have little or no symptoms: “Some of them feel very well, and those are the ones who do not see any reasons why they should be in a hospital.  It is quite different in some cases and under certain circumstances, convincing someone who feels very well; that he needs to be in isolation and that the reason for being in isolation is to prevent him from infecting others.  That is the category that could be considered for home management when the treatment centers are fully occupied.  The Minister stressed that it is not those that are very sick, those who are very sick will need to be in an institution to be cared for.  But, the ones who feel well or have mild symptoms are the ones who will be in home care management.”  

He added that, before it gets to the home care level, there are other improvised measures that are being introduced by primary health care: for instance, the use of dormitories and some other available empty buildings. “Now managing people of that type sometimes are not easy because they can get restless that they want to go to work.  So the kind of management they need, is not much of nursing, they need some psychological management and things to occupy them. Counselors are needed and that’s where Primary Health Care comes in very useful, they are used to working with communities and they can provide human resources (community health workers), they have thousands who can manage these cases successfully when it comes to that level and they can pay visits, make necessary phone calls and try and keep the people in good spirits.

On 50 to 60% of cases in Kano being probably due to COVID-19:
With regards to the 50 to 60 percent cases in Kano, Dr. Ehanire reminded that verbal autopsy was conducted. Explaining further, he said “Verbal autopsy means that you never really saw the patients but you are trying to do a circumstantial analysis, I call it circumstantial evidence.  For example, you ask the relatives what symptoms did they really have? They had cough; Did they have fever?  Yes they had fever.  And for how long did the illness last?  If the cough was for about 6 or 9 months, then it was something else; maybe tuberculosis or something else, but if the cough was just for a few days, and they had fever, they had sore throat, whatever it is, then you make an assumption or what is called an educated guess. It gives you an estimate. It is not something you can go to the bank with, but it gives you a good guideline of what it could likely to be.”

On whether we have resources to move COVID-19 patients across State boundaries:
“We have the necessary assets for that, and for that you need ambulances, yes, it’s true, we do have plans to move people whose cases are moderate and whose condition suddenly turns bad to ICU, you can move them across a State boundary to a facility where they have ICU.  If one State for example does not have ICU, you can do the movement that way.  So, that possibility is there, perhaps the possibility if you have an over-flow of moving more positive patients from one facility to a neighbouring State, for example, the index case that came into Nigeria was in Ogun and was moved to Lagos, so it’s not something that has never happened.  It can happen that one State will support the other, particularly with the nature, quality and the type of care that is required.”

Compiled by Blessing Egbo
Olujimi Oyetomi, Director, Information, Media & Public Relations.


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