Press Briefing By Hon. Minister Of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire At The Presidential Task Force On COVID-19 Press Briefing On Monday 30th November, 2020

PROTOCOL

On 29th of November 2020, 82 new covid19 cases were recorded from 11 states, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Nigeria to 67,412 out of 756,237 persons tested.  63,055 cases have been treated and discharged and 1,173 deaths have sadly been recorded.

2. We still hope to reduce case fatality by strengthening our capacity to manage cases, but it is only possible if persons test themselves early once they have symptoms or have been in contact with a suspected case, and also if all who test positive present themselves immediately for evaluation by experts, who will prescribe your treatment based on that, either at home or in a facility, depending on the severity, vulnerability, need for care or other criteria. All cases, whether home based or institutional, are to be supervised by medical personnel.

3. All this is particularly important, given the threat posed to Nigeria by the spiraling rated of infection in countries with which we have strong political, business, social and family relations. Correspondingly, there is high volume of travel between Nigeria and these countries, which also determines the risk. The PTF will continue to review protocols at our Points of Entry, to be responsive to changing scenarios. Under no condition should we be lulled into complacency, because, as the WHO Director General advises, nobody is safe, till we are all safe.

4. I also urge Nigerians to put off all non-essential travel by mass transit, especially international travel, and most especially travel to high burden countries, except it is very urgent. Mass Travel over the upcoming holiday period are a matter of concern and should be restricted, just as all associated festive social activities should be curtailed. This is a sacrifice we must make to preserve lives. The Elderly and persons with delicate health should best stay where they are and not travel or mix in crowds. Worship over the holiday should be with the strictest conditions  or better still, done online.

5. The experience from Thanksgiving celebration in the US, indicates a serious lesson that a covid19 spike from the travels and socialization went with the holiday, for which the price in new infections and lives lost, is high. This should be a warning for us.

6. A major step in upgrading the Ministry of Health's healthcare financing agenda was taken last week, when I had the privilege of performing the launch of a program of the National Health Insurance Scheme titled "Group Individual and Family Social Health Insurance Programme", (GIFSHIP). The major objective of GIFSHIP is to rapidly expand the scope of healthcare coverage and expand the fiscal space for financing health care, in our quest to attain Universal Health Coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals. GIFSHIP offers citizens the opportunity to participate and benefit from health insurance by subscribing to affordable premium payments, either alone, with their families, clan or group.

7. Proxy enrollment of family units, or groups of people, as a philanthropic gesture, is encouraged. I therefore invite well-meaning persons in Nigeria and in the diaspora, to strongly consider this very attractive option of serving your loved ones, extended families, communities, clans and members of their constituencies or interest groups, by enrolling them in GIFSHIP. This will give them financial access to comprehensive quality healthcare coverage at point of need anywhere in the country, when fully operational.

8.    The Federal Ministry of Health today launched the revised National Health Promotion Policy 2019, prepared by Department of Family Health, that explains our commitment to improving health and wellbeing of Nigerians, by empowering them to adopt healthier lifestyle choices. This is even more relevant at this time of pandemic, where people need to be better informed on Health seeking behaviour, as government strives to provide access to quality health care for all Nigerians.  

9.    I had a meeting with Chairmen of Boards of Management of Federal Medical Centres and Teaching Hospitals, to discuss how hospitals can support States in response to the pandemic, and to address recurring reports of poor quality of service in some hospitals. The Chairmen resolved to work out ways of improving and sustaining quality of care and submit a report on options to address it.

10.    Finally, I shall use this opportunity again to remind citizens that covid pandemic is not over: you cannot stop the race till you reach your goal. We have responsibility to work together to defeat the pandemic. Although we have positioned Nigeria for access to COVID vaccine, it will take time to reach our turn to get it and for all citizens to be vaccinated. It is more realistic to adopt preventive measures which are proven to help in controlling the pandemic. Therefore, observe physical distancing, wear your face mask correctly, regularly wash your hands, use hand sanitizers, and observe respiratory hygiene, especially in public places.

11.    Thank you. 

FMOH Agencies

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