Response by the Honorable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire to questions filled by journalists during the PTF Briefing on Thursday, 2nd July, 2020
On some private hospitals treating COVID-19 patients:
The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire emphasized that only accredited Hospitals whether government or private are allowed to treat Covid-19 patients because of the risks involved. He stated that the accreditation protocol was handed over to the States to manage and every State is responsible for their own accreditation including the FCT; so if any Hospital in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) wants to be involved in the treatment of Covid-19, they should first of all get accredited be the FCT.
On the spike among health workers:
He stated that health workers need to protect themselves from COVID-19 since they are the most valuable assets of our response and we respect lives and appreciate their services because they are putting their lives on the line in order to save lives, that’s why we provide the PPE to all the Hospitals and that reflected in the meeting that we had with the FCT Minister, Mohammed Bello who confirmed that the all the hospitals that are treating COVID-19 cases in the FCT have enough Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The Minister expressed worries over the spike of COVID-19 in the health work force since most of them are not dealing with COVID-19 Isolation Center’s or maybe it could be that they are dealing with those who are not accredited.
Dr, Ehanire also informed that he has directed that all the hospitals in the FCT to increase and scale up their sample collections in the hospitals - private or government owned; it could be Jabi, Gwagwala, Keffi General Hospitals or other hospitals that are managed by the Federal Capital Territory and testing should be their utmost priority which also have its own protocol and the room where the samples will be collected, twice a day which is between 12 noon to 1pm and 6 to 7pm so as to scale up their sample and testing collection in order to reduce the frustration that people go through trying to get tested. “If everybody follows the rule, the rate of infection should be very low”, he stated.
Dr. Ehanire also disclosed that one of the persons who gave a lecture during the meeting that he had with medical doctors and the FCT Minister was the Chief Medical Director of Infectious Disease Hospital, Irrua, Prof. Sylvanus Okogbeni said that it has been 10 years since the hospital started handling infectious diseases like Lassa fever, that the hospital have not recorded any infections in that hospital, not even one among the health workers because they are trained and also re-trained; they know what to do at any given time, once there is an outbreak of any disease,
He advised all health care workers not to take risks or indulge in what they are not trained or licensed to do or think that they will be exempted from the disease, is living in denial because they are just like every other persons that is vulnerable to any disease and they should always protect themselves since they are our valuable assert. “As the trial begins in all hospitals, I am sure that all health workers would have received the proper training and we hope and pray and urge them to adhere to the training and not to get themselves infected.”
On Medical Reason Whether they are male Doctors than Female Doctors Treating the Covid-19 Patients:
The Minister informed that medically he wouldn’t say but he believed that males are more exposed because they are the ones that travel more often and interact and interface with people, hence the ratio has remained constant of 7-3% since inception but he still have to confirm through the NCDC if is it the same in other countries.
On the issue of if any hospital has been sanctioned or not:
The Minister reiterated that sanctioning of hospitals is left for the States to deal with any violation since they are the ones that issued the licenses and accredited the hospital to practise following the guideline that was given by the Ministry of Health. He also emphasized that the protocol for testing that is started in Abuja should be replicated in other States across the federation so as to expand the testing capability in order to accommodate more people so as to know what the real figures are in order to ascertain a clearer picture of COVID-19 status in the country.
On the Issue of Madagascar herbal drug for COVID-19 Treatment:
He informed that the Artemisia annua which is a component of malarial treatment medicine which is used for treating malaria is added to it and the government imported this plant some years back. NIPRID, he said has some plantation of it which they were trying to develop its own production of ACT and the process is still under supervision but the plant is already in the country which was intended to be for anti-malaria when produced for the treatment of malaria but the type in Nigeria showed that it has a very high concentration of Artemisia annua when tested which is the active ingredient.
To see whether the drug work against COVID-19 disease or not, Dr. Ehanire stressed that further research is to be conducted but laid more emphasis that the Madagascar herb has been identified that it contained large quantity of Artemisia annua and other important properties that was also found in the product was the bark of a tree and other thing which are impurities that came with it.
Compiled by Grace Anyanwu,
Olujimi Oyetomi, Director, Information, Media & Public Relations.