PRESS RELEASES (209)
FG Distributes Oxygen Concentrators & Ventilators To Various Health Institutions, Trains 176 Specialists.
The Federal Government has begun the distribution of oxygen concentrators and ventilators to various health institutions as well as training of about 176 intensive care specialists, and biomedical engineers, who will use or maintain them in the hospitals.
This was made known by the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire during the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 Press Briefing in Abuja on Monday, 21st September, 2020, where he disclosed that the ventilators and training are courtesy of the United States Government and shall complement what we have at our ICUs.
Recall that the United States Government had on the 11th August, 2020, through its Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard made a donation of 200 ventilators which was tagged “life-saving equipment” to assist in tackling the rampaging COVID-19 in Nigeria. The donation was said to be a fulfillment of the commitment made by Presidents Donald Trump and Muhammadu Buhari earlier this year and it includes training on the use and maintenance of this equipment and ensuring that the ventilators can address other respiratory illnesses in the years beyond the virus.
Updating on the cases of Covid-19 in the country, Dr. Ehanire reported that as at 21st September, 2020, Nigeria has a record of about 57,242 COVID-19 positive cases out of 479,628 samples tested with 48,569 patients treated and discharged from hospital, while 1,098 citizens have sadly been lost to the disease.
The Honourable Minister upheld that, even though there seem to be a decline in the number of COVID-19 cases as well as fatalities, there was need for caution as the nation stands the risk of possible spike as being currently reported.
“The daily figures of the past few days seem to show a downward trend in numbers of COVID-19 positive cases as well as fatalities, but we unfortunately cannot afford to rejoice or speak of success, for many reasons.
“International news media shows scenes of upsurge in COVID cases, called the 2nd wave in several high income countries, many of which had been thought to have defeated COVID-19 and which now see threat to their health systems. This is a situation we must endeavour to avoid, and for that, all steps must be taken”, he said.
With regard to COVID-19 and growing complacence, Dr. Ehanire explained that, even though adults, especially those 60 years and above are more vulnerable, complications do occur in all age groups. “Records show that 10% of all positive cases we have treated are below the age of 19 years.
“They are also the same mobile group that can be without symptoms, but can easily spread the disease. Therefore, as schools begin to reopen in some areas, I urge caution and adherence to the protocols and advisories for reopening schools, in order join us to prevent COVID surge”, he said.
Dr. Ehanire also affirmed the need to generate national and international confidence in our data by conducting more targeted testing before conclusions are drawn. This he said requires that all States and Local Government areas must cooperate with NCDC by raising sample collection rate, using criteria listed, to increase testing to a desired rate and to report promptly.
The Minister further explained that the target of 2 Million tests is still a mirage, as such, Federal Government can support States with community volunteers for contact tracing, case finding and investigation. He added that, in order to enhance surveillance and case finding. States, he added, can also ensure that suspected symptomatic COVID cases are sent for treatment in time or supported before then with medical oxygen, to save lives and reduce fatalities.
Dr. Ehanire highlighted the recommended criteria for testing thus: persons who have been in contact with a COVID positive patient or are associated with a cluster of persons of interest, those who have any of the four classical symptoms of fever, persistent cough, loss of sense of taste or smell and breathlessness; anyone facing surgery, as well as for any other compelling reason. He added that testing for travel is assigned to private laboratories.
While commending JOHESU, for putting an end to their industrial action, he urged everyone to take responsibility for each other by wearing simple face masks, especially in public places, ensuring physical distancing and respiratory hygiene and those with pre-existing illness and COVID-19 evocative symptoms should report for treatment as soon as possible, adding that “COVID-19 is with us for the foreseeable future, as the DG of WHO has advised, with no definitive cure in sight.”
By Blessing Egbo
Olujimi Oyetomi, Dir. Information, Media & Public Relations.
COVID-19: Health Minister Cautions Against Non-Adherence To Recommended Safety Measures Says Vaccine Will Not Be Available Until 2021
The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has again cautioned Nigerians against non-adherence to COVID-19 recommended measures, as this could lead to spike as being experienced in some parts of the world.
According to the Honourable Minister, “It is important to remind ourselves that COVID-19 is real and spreading wildly in some parts of the world as we speak. Some countries are experiencing the so-called second wave, with all the complications that go along with this easily spreading disease; another country is to go under lockdown again. This is something Nigeria must endeavour to avoid.”
Dr. Ehanire gave this caution during the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 Press Briefing in Abuja on Thursday, 17th September, 2020, where he appealed to Nigerians to comply with the recommended protocols for reducing the spread of the virus in the country as vaccine will not be available until next year.
“Compliance with all recommended measures, like wearing masks, social distancing, avoiding gatherings etc. will go a long way to help. Vaccines will not be available till next year at best, and no new reliable therapeutic has been confirmed, but we must restart businesses, including travel, to allow citizens to earn their livelihoods”, he said.
The Minister reported that, as at 17th September, 2020, the country has so far recorded a total of 56,604 covid-19 positive cases out of a total of 482,321 samples tested, with 47,872 persons treated and discharged, while 1091 persons were sadly lost to the disease.
Speaking further, Dr. Ehanire appealed to people who tested positive to COVID-19 especially the elderly and those with underlying health conditions to immediately report to a treatment facility, as it has been observed that most fatalities are among those reporting late for treatment, when their clinical condition has worsened. He added that there are enough facilities across the country to cater for them. “There is no shortage of beds reported from any of the States”, he said.
The Honourable Minister also informed of Federal Government’s plan to distribute oxygen concentrators and ventilators to various health institutions across the country, to enable them provide oxygen therapy to persons presenting with respiratory distress, till they are referred to treatment centres; thus improving their chances of survival. He added that the Federal Government is working with State Government officials to sustain sample collections and response activities, with emphasis on surveillance and treatment, in order to drive containment.
Further, Dr. Ehanire reported that Nigeria on Thursday, 17th September, 2020 joined the rest of the world to commemorate the World "Patient Safety Day", a day set aside by the World Health Assembly, to recognise and highlight the safety of patients under treatment, as a global health priority. The theme for this year, he said was, “Health Worker Safety: A Priority for Patient Safety”, with the slogan of “Safe health workers, safe patients.”
The Minister pointed out that although we are confronted with the global pandemic, “The heroic role of frontline healthcare workers to keep the rest of us safe must be recognized. They work odd hours, endure stigma, risk infection and even their lives.”
While commending the efforts of the health care workers, Dr. Ehanire again appealed to the striking members of Joint Health Sector Union to put the plight, safety and well-being of their patients into consideration and to call off their industrial actions, while differences are being addressed by negotiation.
By Blessing Egbo.
Olujimi Oyetomi, Director, Information, Media & Public Relations.
COVID-19 and malaria may have similar symptoms but are caused by different agents. Note that while COVID-19 can spread from person to person, malaria cannot.
Access all updates and resources on COVID-19 HERE
We Want Collaboration, Interaction, Partnership With All Sector Of The Society In Fight Against COVID-19…Dr. Mamora
The Honourable Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora has stated that the Federal Government has been in collaboration, interaction and partnership with all sectors of the society in the fight against COVID-19 and will not want to leave the National Council of Women Society (NCWS) out.
The Minister of State for Health stated this when a team from the Natal Care Programme with the National Council for Women Societies paid him a visit to drive home their proposal for a nationwide ward level preliminary mass testing as a prelude towards the containment of corona virus spread at the community level.
The Minister of State thanked the team for what they have been doing in terms of support for Government and support for the society in moving our nation forward noting that this is the kind of partnership that the Government looks forward to, because there is no way that Government can do it all alone, hence the need for partnership and collaboration in everything that it does. “Government does not exist in abstract it is the people that make up government.”
On wanting to be represented at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF), the response activity of Government, Dr. Mamora said everybody is involved, it is an inter-ministerial thing , we have several ministries involved, we have sub-committees that have been brought in because everybody has a role to play, the traditional rulers, religious leaders, community leaders, women groups, road transport groups, and in the various sub-committees in the PTF because we need to pass information; knowledge is power, and knowledge comes through information.
We talk about non-pharmaceutical interventions which are the critical information that we are supposed to pass to all our people, everybody is important and relevant in the fight against the pandemic, we have never had anything like this in human history. We have this collaboration and partnership with all sectors of the society, people bringing in suggestions and helping in information dissemination which is very critical.
While addressing the issue of natal care, the Honourable Minister of State said it is paramount to us in the health sector; we can’t be talking about health care without bringing women in; we talk of maternal care and infant care, so it is important we involve women at that level; if we don’t get it right at the level of the primary care which is the foundation, then we cannot get it right at the tertiary level and that is why the countries that have done well in health care delivery got it right at the primary care level, we are doing everything to strengthen that base. He commended the visiting delegation of NCWS for their good work, stating that government is open to more suggestions , we do not claim to have all the monopoly, we are there to listen and see what we can offer in return for greater results.
Earlier, Mrs. Mary Sodipo who represented the National President sought the inclusion of women at the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19. She noted that “women, especially our president should also be carried along so that we can relate properly with the grass roots level.” The Association she said, is adequately represented in all the LGAs in Nigeria, on the partnership we have on this programme, we are very much concerned about the Nigerian women in this era of COVID-19 we realized that a lot of women at the grass roots, close to us and around us are yet to believe that COVID-19 is in existence.
“On reproductive health, we find out that a lot of our women cannot access natal care at that level, especially at this time where there is hardship or recession and economic challenges concerning receiving natal care. We have therefore come here to discuss with you sir, how we can collaborate and synergize so that at the grass roots, our women can receive adequate care”, she said.
Amb. Boniface A. Anibodu who presented a proposal for a nationwide ward level preliminary mass testing as a prelude towards the containment of corona virus spread at the community level through which the NCWS seeks to partner FMOH on dissemination of COVID-19 protocols and messages to the grassroots.
Dr. Mamora also charged the NCWS delegation to forward copies of their proposal to the National Primary Health Care (NPHCDA) as well as the National Orientation Agency (NOA) so as to facilitate advantages of inter-agencies collaboration.
By Blessing Efem
Olujimi Oyetomi, Director, Inf, Media & P.R.
Coalition Of Societies For The Rights Of Older Persons Visits Honourable Minister Of State For Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora.
The Honourable Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora has stated that if we attend to issues of older persons, it is an enlightened self-interest because the natural process is ageing which means that if we are lucky enough, we will also become older persons; if we put in place whatever will support the older persons, we are also helping ourselves.”
Dr. Mamora made this remark to support the need to accede to some of the requests made by a visiting delegation of Coalition of Societies for the Rights of Older Persons in Nigeria (COSROPIN) led by Senator Dr Eze Ajoku of the Graceful Ageing Fellowship (GRAF) and others who visited Friday, 11th September, 2020 to partner the Government and stakeholders on the issues of older persons and to obtain firsthand feedback on the activities of the Ministry on promises made to older person which include establishment of 6 regional Geriatric Hospitals as well as the training of Doctors and Nurses in this area.
COSROPIN delegation also sought to know if the National Non-Contributory Health Insurance for the Over-70 Years Old which started with the Police will be extended to other Civil and Non-Civil Servants of Over-70 Years old.
The delegates further sought to know if the Ministry of Health has completed the review of its operational manuals of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF). The body also sought update on the promised revitalization of over 10, 000 Primary Health Care Centres (PHCs) across the country. COSROPIN wanted an extension of palliative in form of free or reduced prices of drugs or other actions given the current rampaging COVID-19 pandemic. They expressed the wish to have this made available in FG hospitals.
The visiting older persons’ coalition also came to explore re-engagement opportunities of their members especially the health workers – Nurses, Midwife etc who could still work and support for Nursing Homes and Day Care Centers for older persons.
A particularly touching issue of a dead but not buried 97 year old Mrs. Ikwo Akpan Umoh of Ukana Ikot Osom in Ukana East, Essien Udom LGA in Akwa Ibom, whose body is still in a mortuary was highlighted as one of the deprivations suffered by older persons which the visitors want the Minister to intervene in.
The Older Persons Rights and Privileges Bill, 2019 which was reported to have passed 2nd Reading in the Senate, the visitors requested for the Minister to ensure that such is passed into Law.
On many of the issues so raised by his visitors, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora told the visitors that he is immediately stepping in to ensure that the needful is done on the dead but not buried 97 year old Mrs. Ikwo Akpan Umoh of Ukana Ikot Osom in Ukana East, Essien Udom LGA in Akwa Ibom: engaging the representatives of the community in the National Assembly and escalating such to the Governor of Akwa-Ibom;
On the Older Persons Rights and Privileges Bill, 2019, Dr. Mamora asked to be furnished with details and pledged to follow up;
On the issue of the 6 regional Geriatric Hospitals as well as the training of Doctors and Nurses in this area, the Honourable Minister of State disclosed that he has information that assessment has been made cutting across the six geo-political zones to be located at Ibadan, Kano, Maiduguri, Owerri, and other places but presently they are already established at Ibadan, Benin and Port-Harcourt. He disclosed further that issue of funds challenge has been there.
On the issue of National Non-Contributory Health Insurance, the Minister disclosed that this has started but it is a process which needs to be taken further to include other sectors, but he also identified funding constraints and promised to make this a priority for him to follow up on;
On the issue of operational manual, because we know that anyone can require emergency health care we have fast tracked actions on the Basic Health Care Provision Fund [BHCPF} and the National Emergency Management System and Ambulance Scheme. We had some issues about the BHCPF earlier but we have overcome this and that document has been passed. Dr. Mamora said that this administration is concerned with making our primary health care centers to be functional, “We are concerned with revitalization which will make for its functionality. There is need to ensure accessibility of the PHCs; boreholes for water supply, alternative energy (Solar power) for electricity supply, human resources for health; essential services – immunization against childhood diseases, health education, nutrition, essential drugs, dehydration treatment, etc.”
On COVID-19 treatment for older persons, Dr. Mamora advised that since the treatment is free in Government hospitals, he advised them to take advantage of the free treatment.
On Nursing Homes and Day Care Centers for Older persons, the Minister said even though this may not be in line with African culture, he disclosed that development has compelled the present administration to be looking at what can be done in the circumstances but that State Authorities and FCTA regulate such homes. He said FG can only advise.
Older persons who came visiting the Honourable Minister include Dame Mary Ikokwu, Secretary General- Save Our Heritage Initiative (SOHI); Victoria Onu, Grace Nursing Centre; Sir Peter Aliu, Senior Citizens and Elder’s Forum of Nigeria (SCEFON); AIG Steven Aiyewunmi , Association Retired Police Officers of Nigeria (ARPON); Rear Admiral Koye Ekezie, Retired Army, Navy and Airforce Officers (RENAO); Rear Admiral Christopher Ehamor, Senior Citizens Advocacy Network of Nigeria (SCANON); Dr. Goddy Edozie, Graceful Ageing Fellowship (GRAF); Deaconess Tina Chukwuka – Association of Retired Senior Civil Servants; Elder SBS Abuh of Association of Retired Secretaries and Reporters of Nigeria; Com. Christian Azunna of Nigeria Union of Pensioners; Com Adesina Abiodun of Nigeria Union of Pensioners; Petra O’ Blakk of Reconnect Africa and Armstrong Agatsa of Administrative Officer of COSROPIN.
By Blessing Efem
Oyetomi Olujimi, Director, Inf, Media & PR.
Russian Federation Ambassador To Nigeria, H.E. Alexey L. Shebarshin On Courtesy Visit To Nigeria’s Health Ministers
The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire supported by the Honourable Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora and other top management of the Health Ministry and other Nigerian Scientists, Researchers and Advisors (who participated in the meeting online) played host to the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Nigeria, H.E. Alexey L. Shebarshin today, Friday, 4th September, 2020. As expected, the issue on the front burner for discussion is the recently announced Russian-made Vaccine against COVID-19.
H.E. Alexey L. Shebarshin, who admitted that he is a non-scientist, said he was in the Federal Ministry of Health to formally hand over the Russian-made Vaccine against COVID-19 to Nigeria with an aide memoir which explains the details for Nigerian teams to study and get ready for further researches, patronage and application.
The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire stated that Nigeria has been participating in series of knowledge exchange and contacts with different research bodies and countries to find solutions to the COVID-19 challenge and has contacted the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Nigeria for right of access immediately the Russian COVID-19 Vaccine was announced.
H.E. Alexey L. Shebarshin, who explained further that countries such as U.A.E, S/Arabia, Mexico etc have expressed interest in the Russian COVID-19 Vaccine and requested that Nigeria puts together a team to interface with his Embassy to drive the process of human trials not just for the Russian COVID-19 Vaccine but to explore further disease and health areas where the Russian Federation has expertise to manage with vaccines.
At the courtesy call event were Health care experts/Directors of the Federal Ministry of Health like Dr. Olowu of the PPP Department; Dr. Adebimpe Adebiyi, mni of the Hospital Services, Department; Mrs. Ajayi of the Food and Drugs Department; Dr. Faisal Shuaib of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPCHDA) supported by other Ministry’s advisors like Professor Oyewale Tomori who is the Chair of the Board of Bio-Vaccine as well as the Ministerial Advisory Committee; Professor Nasidi Abdusalami who represented the Russian-trained Nigerian Scientists; Professor Salako, the Director-General of the Nigeria Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) and some others.
The consensus of decision reached was to quickly refer the vaccine to the necessary professional institutes and agencies of the Federal Ministry of Health beginning with NAFDAC, NIPRD, and for a team of Scientists and advisors to the Ministry to get to work on possible patronage of the Russian Vaccine to alleviate the plight of Nigerians under the COVID-19 pandemic. A Ministerial Team is also expected to be raised to continue further engagement with the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Nigeria on the vaccine as well as other areas of interests highlighted at the meeting.
Olujimi Oyetomi, Director, Information, Media & Public Relations.
The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has called for caution amid declining cases of COVID-19 in the country as he said this could be attributed to the fact that we are yet to perfect our act in the containment of the virus. Dr. Ehanire gave this caution during the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 Press Briefing in Abuja on Monday, 30th August, 2020.
In his words, “We are beginning to see a situation where the number of those treated and discharged exceeds the number of positive cases detected. While these figures may seem reassuring, they may be deceptive, and we cannot assume that the curve is flattening, since we are yet to perfect due diligence on our side.”
Explaining further, the Honourable Minister said, “Testing has, for example, dropped quite significantly due to reduced sample collection across many States, for reasons that are not clear in all cases. One State, for example, tested over 35 thousand in July and just under 20 thousand in August, while another State dropped from 23 thousand in July to just under 4 thousand in August. “
Dr. Ehanire added that, “these are just examples that show that there is more work to do and many more challenges ahead. There is reason to worry that in States facing election, campaign activities can cause caution to be thrown to the wind and covid-19 infection increases dramatically, while testing may decline due to frustration.”
Arising from this, he urged authorities in these States to ensure effective crowd control measures are in place and that government workers are allowed to do their work unhindered.
He also intimated of his decision to commission a study group of the Ministerial Experts Advisory Committee to begin processes to examine this development and bring up new knowledge which can guide response or may have an implication on government decision making.
Similarly, Dr. Ehanire has called for more vigilance as international flights are set to commence in the country. “As plans for Lagos and Abuja airports to reopen for commercial international flights become reality, we must raise our vigilance level, he said.” He noted that this development is in our collective interest and therefore called for collective responsibility to guard against new cases entering our country undetected.
Updating on the number of COVID-19 cases in Nigeria, the Honourable Minister reported that 138 COVID-19 positive cases have been recorded in the last 24 hours, one of the lowest numbers in many months, giving a total of 53,865 positive cases out of 403,347 tests conducted as of August 31, 2020. In the same 24 hour period, 199 persons were discharged from hospital, giving us total successful treatment of 41,513 patients. He added that a total of 1,013 deaths has been recorded so far, saying that the case fatality rate has also dropped slightly to 1.88%. This he said, could be as a result of improvement in response and treatment strategies to contain covid-19 and also a common global trend which should not be taken for granted.
Dr. Ehanire stated that even though containment of COVID-19 is currently being prioritised, Government has not lost sight of other diseases that contribute to mortality, especially of women and children in Nigeria, particularly Malaria. He assured of continued efforts to strengthen routine services in our primary health care facilities.
By Blessing Egbo
Signed: Olujimi Oyetomi, Director, Information, Media and Public Relations.
Bauchi Governor Bala Mohammed Requests Partnership With FMOH To Develop Bauchi Health Sector, Dr. Ehanire Obliges.
The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has obliged the request of H.E. Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State to partner Federal Ministry of Health to develop the Bauchi State Health Sector to the level that can satisfy those who believe that “Government is about giving services”, “someone who is bent on leaving a legacy of service to the people”, as the Governor described himself.
H.E. Governor Bala Mohammed led in the Bauchi Team composed of the Honourable Commissioner for Health and his counterpart in the Planning Ministry of Bauchi and some other Special Aides, Friday, 28th August to intimate the Honourable Minister of Health who was at the meeting with the Permanent Secretary for Health, A.M. Abdullahi not just to apprise the Minister of the developments in the health sector of Bauchi State which the Governor disclosed already has 108 Primary Health Care (PHC) Centers in place with help from Development Partners – European Union and UNICEF but aspiring to have one PHC per political ward of the State; already deploying not less than 16% of the State’s annual budget to the Health Sector. The meeting held in the Honourable Minister’s Office at the Federal Ministry of Health’s Headquaters.
Governor Bala Mohammed commended Dr. Osagie Ehanire and his team for bringing the issues of the health sector to “something that has been of concern to every one of us.” He said “It takes another thing for another to happen”; identifying the COVID-19 challenge, bad as it is made it possible for you and your team to show that Nigeria can do as much as any other country in the world.”
“We want to look at all our inadequacies and limitations, take our political inventory, our human capital and approach our partners to find a way of closing the gaps.” He remarked that not until Dr. Osagie Ehanire’s arrival on the scene, health sector has been a neglected sector, “the primary health care, the secondary, and even the tertiary health care sector”, he said. The Bauchi Governor, H.E. Bala Mohammed therefore, invited the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire to be a part of the upcoming Bauchi State Health Summit at a future date.
Governor Mohammed further disclosed his Government has been doing so much in Bauchi’s health sector but identified the Bauchi challenge as including the problem with implementing the “Saving One Million Lives”; the issue of Basic Health care Provision, stating that Bauchi “has not been able to access anything despite Buachi having complied with all the guidelines”; and the “human capital.” To the last challenge of human capital, Dr, Ehanire proffered the solution of training health care personnel from the locality that will also be quartered in that same locality so that “they would not run away. If you bring from other places, they will stay a few months and they would want to go back to where they come from.
So, we want to localize and indigenize human capital development for the health care sector.” Dr. Ehanire also urged the Bauchi Governor to buy into the programme of ‘One General Hospital per Local Government and supporting the General Hospital with the Staff of Tertiary Hospital, for example, the Federal Medical Center (FMC) to have the FMC adopt the General Hospital.’ The Honourable Minister of Health opined that since the FMC Health Care Expert already takes his salaries from Federal, and spending one week in and one week off, can take the one week off to be spent at the General Hospital. He further explained that all that may be required is for the State to give the FMC Care giver a stipend, having already been provided a place to stay.”
Dr. Osagie Ehanire further sold the idea of his pet project – the Emergency Ambulance Service – NEMSAS to the visiting Bauchi State Team. He said, since bauch already has 108 PHCs with the propensity to putting more in place; Secondary Health Care Institutions and Tertiary Health Care Centers, “then what remains is and emergency ambulance system” which he said “has the potential of reducing maternal mortality by 25 to 30%.”
The Honourable Minister of Health thereafter accepted the Bauchi Governor’s invitation to be a part of the upcoming Bauchi State Health Summit.
Director, Information, Media & Public Relations.
The Honourable Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora has again declared Government's commitment to strengthening routine health care services even in the face of COVID-19, particularity the immunization progammes. Dr. Mamora made this declaration at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 Press Briefing in Abuja on Monday, 24th August, 2020.
According to him, “We shall not lose sight of the fact that COVID-19 is not the only health challenge faced by our people. We shall therefore ensure that routine services are strengthened. This pandemic has further underscored the importance of immunization and vaccination to good health.” The Honourable Minister added that strengthening routine immunization shall continue to receive attention especially as Nigeria will receive her polio-free certification this week.
In line with Government's commitment towards this, Dr. Mamora reported that about 456 Motorcycles and Computers meant to enhance the Routine Immunization Officers’ ability for supportive supervision of service providers, and support the generation and on-site utilisation of programme data to continuously improve the quality of the immunization programme in Nigeria were commissioned on Friday, 21st August, 2020.
On the nation's COVID-19 cases, the Minister disclosed that as at 24th August, 2020, Nigeria regrettably has lost a total of 1,002 persons to COVID-19, with about 52,227 positive cases out of 379,542 samples tested so far, while about 38,945 persons have been treated and discharged. He added that adhering to the non-pharmaceutical interventions to curb the virus cannot be overemphasized.
Dr. Mamora explained that as the nation continues to gain experience from managing COVID-19; the need to improve quality of care, strengthening health system and seamless patient evacuation especially in emergency situation have become crucial. “We shall therefore, continue to review and strive for improvement in the treatment of COVID-19 symptomatic cases, older adults, and those with already existing medical conditions with the view to reducing our case fatality rate”, he said.
He also assured that Government will continue to work together with the private sector for improved healthcare delivery in Nigeria.
By Blessing Egbo
Olujimi Oyetomi, Director, Information, Media & Public Relations, FMoH
To Implement Emergency Medical System & Ambulance Scheme (NEMSAS), Dr. Osagie Ehanire Sets Up Committee Of Guild Of Medical Directors, Association Of General And Private Medical Practitioners Of Nigeria (AGPMPN) To Synergize With FG
The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has set up a Committee to implement the National Emergency Medical System and Emergency Ambulance Scheme (NEMSAS) after the recent approval of the project by the National Council on Health.
The Committee, the Honourable said will ensure that the assets and resources of the private sector are pulled to complement those of the Federal Government to bring about NEMSAS since according to him, the project is all “about public service” and that the assets and funds at the disposal of the Government cannot implement this very needed project that could be found elsewhere but in Nigeria: “We can’t set up NEMSAS relying on Government assets. We want to use all assets available – public and private sector.”
Dr. Osagie Ehanire called a meeting with the Guild of Medical Directors (GMD) and the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners (AGPMN) at the Federal Ministry of Health, on Friday, 21st, August, 2020 where he listened to the presentations of the Guild’s President, Professor Femi Dokun Babalola and that of the Chairman, National Emergency Treatment Committee (NEMTC)/NEMSAS, Dr. Felix Ogedengbe and contributions of others present before his intervention.
The Guild’s President, Professor Femi Dokun Babalola’s presentation summarized the direction of the minds of the two professionals groups invited to discuss the issues of the day.
They both expressed solidarity with the Honourable Minister of Health on the idea of NEMSAS and supported that the private sector be carried along. Their submission is that “About 60 – 70% of all consultations and emergencies do occur in that sphere.”
The Guild’s President said “members would want the followings to be considered and put in place:
i. A guarantee of payment for services” rendered as the previous experience is such that after verifiably completion of the assigned projects, Health Management Organizations (HMOs) and the National Health Insurance (NHIS) have been owing his members;
ii. A mutually agreed tariff system of payment for services rendered to emergencies that do present in private hospitals as well as clear details of the timing and compensations for defaults on either sides; and
iii. For those who invest in ambulances, payment of a basic periodic maintenance cost in situations where the ambulance is either not utilized or is underutilized, may also be considered.
They sought for the project to be partly funded by the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) which along with the NEMSAS recently got the approval of the National Council on Health (NCH) which guidelines for sharing funding of basic health care for Nigerians from
(a) an annual grant from the Federal Government of Nigeria of not less than one per cent (1%) of its Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF);
(b) grants by international donor partners;
(c) funds from any other sources, inclusive of the private sector.
The argument put forward by professionals at the Friday’s meeting is that virtually all medical issues of Nigerians are “emergency issues” because, as he said, “Average Nigerian will wait till his health issue becomes an emergency before seeking medical help.”
While intervening, the Honourable Minister of State, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora has said of NEMSAS that it is an idea whose time has come and that he knows that there are some challenges which are ever present in the health system in Nigeria and that the challenges will also only present at the initial stages of NEMSAS. He endorsed the idea of starting with Federal Capital Territory and parts of Nassarawa State but that collective effort is needed to sustain it.
The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire emphasized the need to have the required funds and resources for NEMSAS got from beyond the resources of FG and States’ Governments saying that “it is the private sector that has the hospitals, the expertise, the ambulances, and the management experience that could be drawn from to ensure the success of the project.”
He reminded all that NEMSAS is “about public service to save many avoidable lives which have been lost due to auto accident emergencies, maternal and other life-threatening emergencies” and declared that a follow up committee will have to work out details of getting NEMSAS underway.
Olujimi Oyetomi, Director, Information, Media & Public Relations.