Press Briefing By Hon. Minister Of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire At The Presidential Task Force On COVID-19 Press Briefing On Thursday 20th August, 2020

Protocol

Nigeria has, as of 19th August, 2020, crossed the 50,000 landmark and recorded 50,488 COVID-19 cases. This is out of 366,244 samples tested so far, of which 37,304 persons were successfully treated and discharged. We have sadly had 985 fatalities, which is also a reminder to us all, that COVID-19 has not abated.

2.    Male preponderance remains high, with more infections in the age group below 50 years, but more fatalities in the higher age brackets and among the vulnerable with comorbidities

3. The changing dynamics of the virus and the disease make it necessary for us to continue to review our response strategies, ensure we train and update our health workers on the latest and most effective approach to treatment of the disease and tailor our procurement in the light of knowledge gained. The Department of Hospital Services of the Federal Ministry of Health leads this effort to increase the pool of experts and focal persons in various specialties, to train trainers in Infection Prevention and Control at all service and Health facilities. One such training was recently concluded in Gombe State.

4.    The Information session on COVID-19, conducted weekly by the World Health Organization (WHO) was held this morning. I had the opportunity of sharing our experience in Nigeria, as one of two countries invited to make presentations on our response strategies. A clear message from this briefing is that covid19 is a threat to mankind and there is need for all countries to work together for solutions that will allow equitable access to Information sharing on therapeutics and vaccines. In the words of the Director General of the WHO, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, “By working together, we are protecting each other. In a global pandemic, none of us is safe until all of us are safe”.

5. Nigeria is also working with World Health Organization to finalize enrolment with ACT Accelerator, a global mechanism tracking and sponsoring research Organizations working on covid19 vaccine development. We are also interested in the COVAX facility, a GAVI supported global initiative to procure and assure equitable access to vaccines, as soon as they are available, especially for Lower and lower middle Income Countries (LMIC). This will prioritize Nigeria for allocation of a part of 2 billion vaccines doses that will be secured, in a special plan to protect the interests of poorer countries.

6.    I shall end my speech today by reminding us all to take responsibility together, not only for today, but also for the days ahead, when the imperative to open our economy will demand great sacrifice and discipline from us all. The new normal may be demanding, but we all - government and citizens- must collaborate to halt the spread of this disease for each other’s sake. Global experience so far has proved that by following advisories and adhering to all the prescribed measures including appropriate wearing of face masks, physical distancing and respiratory hygiene, we can control the spread of this disease. The Health sector, on its part, is continuing to strengthen itself as we develop new coping measures to counter the challenges we can see ahead: from developing ambulance networks for patient transportation in case of emergency, to improving treatment options for COVID-19. Our objective remains to depress the case fatality rate.

7.    Thank you for listening.

FMOH Agencies

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