The Federal Government has highlighted some of the measures it is taking to ensure Nigeria does not slip into a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As some countries in Europe experience a fresh wave of infections, Dr Osagie Ehanire says the country will continue to sustain its testing rate to identify, isolate, and treat positive cases.
Ehanire, who is the Minister of Health, stated this on Monday in Abuja at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.
As a member of the PTF, he noted that the government would continue to work towards better outcomes of cases.
He explained that this would be achieved by critically reviewing all the areas that would lead to the better management of infections while focusing on the evolving nature of the virus and the disease.
The minister who was not physically present at the briefing noted that the government has ensured continuous interface with the case managers at various isolation and treatment centres.
He added that the country has seen a reduction in the number of confirmed daily cases despite sustaining its testing rate.
As of Monday morning, Nigeria has tested 1,727,467 samples and confirmed 161,737 cases out of which 2,030 people have lost the battle to the disease.
More Vaccines Received
On the vaccine rollout, Ehanire revealed that the government has received additional 300,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine donated by a private firm.
The first shipment of 3,924,000 doses of the vaccines arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja on March 2 via an Emirates airplane from India.
Three days later, Nigeria commenced the exercise with the vaccination of four frontline healthcare workers in Abuja.
President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, state governors, as well as members of the Federal Executive Council, are among those who have received their first dose of the vaccine.
Read the full text of the minister’s remarks at the briefing below:
PRESS BRIEFING BY HONOURABLE MINISTER OF HEALTH, DR. OSAGIE EHANIRE AT THE PRESIDENTIAL TASK FORCE ON COVID-19 PRESS BRIEFING ON MONDAY 22ND MARCH 2021
We have seen a reduction in the number of confirmed cases daily even with a sustained testing rate and we intend to keep it so.
The total number of confirmed cases in Nigeria as of this morning is 161,737 from 1,727,467 samples tested with a test positivity rate of 9.4%. Sadly, we have recorded 2,030 deaths.
In the last week, we have recorded a total of 1080 cases. This is less than what was recorded daily during the second wave even with sustained testing. While this is good, we shall not on account of this, rest on our oars for it is still too early to do so.
We shall continue to sustain our testing rate to ensure that we identify, isolate, and treat positive cases in the country. This is necessary to avoid a third wave that some countries are presently experiencing.
We still continue to work towards better outcomes of cases by critically reviewing all the areas that will lead to better management of COVID-19 cases while focusing on the evolving nature of the virus and the disease.
We have also ensured continuous interface with the Case Managers at the various isolation and treatment centres aimed at meeting the immediate logistic needs and mitigating other challenges using interim measures.
In addition to this, we are sustaining the distribution of available commodities, PPEs, and consumables to ensure availability at all times for end-users at treatment centres.
Evidence has shown improvement in the management of cases as many gaps identified during the supervisory visits are being addressed.
Some centres are operating in new and purpose-built isolation wards, while there’s an ongoing remodelling of some centres, improved workflow, better IPC practice, and availability of better equipment such as oxygen concentrators, ventilators etc.
The vaccine has been rolled out in most of the states and we are quite impressed by the reception. We have recently received additional 300,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines donated by MTN. This will boost our present stock of the vaccine.
Last week, we met with the AstraZeneca group at the Federal Ministry of Health. The meeting provided an opportunity for one-on-one clarification on the vaccines. The outcome of the meeting was a reassurance of the safety and efficacy of the vaccine against Covid-19.
We have not yet recorded unusual side effects among those who have received the vaccine which include myself. NAFDAC is monitoring the process as part of a global tracking of adverse effects of the vaccine.
Anyone who has received the vaccine and is experiencing any adverse reaction should please report to NAFDAC using the Med Safety App on your phone or report at the centre where you received the vaccination.
We have received reports of racketeering in some of the designated vaccination centres. This is not necessary.
Vaccination has been scheduled in phases such that frontline health workers and those at higher risk of the infection are vaccinated first after registration at the portal.
Everyone will be vaccinated free, and everyone will eventually be vaccinated. There is no need to pay to be vaccinated.