Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu believes Nigeria has not gotten to its peak yet, amid the increasing number of confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the country.
The Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) stated this on Friday during his appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.
He said, “From our projection, we are not near the peak yet; we still have a number of weeks to go.”
“But we are trying to stretch out these weeks even further so we can push the peak a bit further out but make sure that the peak is not as steep as it would otherwise have been if no measures were put in place,” Ihekweazu added.
He explained the measures being put in place by the NCDC to ensure the nation’s health system does not get overwhelmed by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
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The NCDC chief stated that the agency would not relent in its effort to curb the spread of the disease in the country, despite being over-stretched.
Noting that Nigeria now has a total of 981 infections, he decried the limiting factors making the transmission of coronavirus possible, saying they were completely outside the control of the health sector.
“Of course, we are over-stretched … but we will not stop because we really don’t have an option NCDC boss admitted.
He added, “At the moment and from what we know, we will not be able to radically stop in a day or two, or even a few weeks but what we are trying to do is really to stretch out that curve so that the health system can cope with the number of cases coming in.”
Ihekweazu also explained the various roles of the NCDC in the fight against COVID-19 in various states.
According to him, the agency is primarily established to serve the states and they are trying to do that as best as they can.
The NCDC boss revealed that the agency was working with the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), and other government health parastatals.
He noted that through these combined resources, a team of medical experts was sent to the various states to support other health workers in the frontline.
“The challenge is that we are facing an unprecedented situation,” said Ihekweazu, adding, “At the moment, as we speak, we have teams in 26 states of the country.
“In states like Lagos, we have over 50 people supporting the response in Lagos State. Our role is to support the states; we are doing the best we can, but the leadership always has to come from the state.”
The NCDC boss stressed that officials deployed from the agencies to any state were never at the front but stay at the back to support the leadership of the state.
He explained that the states were given the responsibility they deserve while the NCDC officials were providing expertise, resources, and reagents among other means of support.
On further measures to contain the spread of COVID-19, Ihekweazu stated that the agency was consulting with the Nigeria Governor’s Forum (NGF) and other stakeholders.
He said, “Transmission is actually picking up in certain states and what we are trying to do, working with the Governors’ Forum and across the sector, is seeing what extra measures we can put in place over the next few days or which we can propose to the leadership of the country to put in place over the next few days that will mitigate the spread of this infection.”
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