We Need To Scale Up Surveillance To Prevent Surge In COVID-19 Cases – Ehanire

The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire.

 

The Federal Government has raised concern over the possible surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country.

Speaking during a briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Tuesday in Abuja, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, warned that Nigeria might have increased infections if surveillance is not followed.

“As business and schools begin to open and as travels begin to pick up, we fear that we may have a surge in the number of cases unless we scale up surveillance and review our response plan to integrate new ways to deal with the disease,” he said.

“In line with this, the Nigeria Institute of Medical Research has developed a molecular test for COVID-19 that can give results in less than 40 minutes. It is the SARS-COV-2 Isothermal Molecular Assay (SIMA) which can be performed by low skilled personnel with minimum training.

“This test which is ten times cheaper than the PCR, can be deployed for point of care detection and surveillance.

“The technique which was developed by Dr. Chika Onwuamah will be deployed for use as soon as it is validated by the relevant agencies of the Ministry for specificity and Sensitivity.”

SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE:

PRESS BRIEFING BY HONOURABLE MINISTER OF HEALTH, DR. OSAGIE EHANIRE AT THE PRESS BRIEFING BY PRESIDENTIAL TASK FORCE ON COVID-19 ON THURSDAY 29TH  SEPTEMBER, 2020

Protocol

A total of 58,460 confirmed cases have been recorded as at today, 29th September, 2020 with 49,895 cases treated and discharged.  This result is from a total of 509,555 persons tested for COVID-19. Sadly, the number of deaths as a result of the disease has since crossed the 1100 mark with 1111 deaths recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. We currently have 7,454 active cases which are being managed at home or are in treatment centres with about half of them in Lagos State.

2.            The number of active cases has continued to drop as we revise our discharge criteria in line with new knowledge of the disease even as we continue to strengthen our case management pillar to provide effective and efficient quality care to all those who test positive whether they are in our facilities or home care.

3.            As business and schools begin to open and as travels begin to pick up, we fear that we may have a surge in the number of cases unless we scale up surveillance and review our response plan to integrate new ways to deal with the disease.

4.            In line with this, the Nigeria Institute of Medical Research has developed a molecular test for COVID-19 that can give results in less than 40 minutes. It is the SARS-COV-2 Isothermal Molecular Assay (SIMA) which can be performed by low skilled personnel with minimum training. This test which is ten times cheaper than the PCR can be deployed for point of care detection and surveillance. The technique which was developed by Dr. Chika Onwuamah will be deployed for use as soon as it is validated by the relevant agencies of the Ministry for specificity and Sensitivity.

5.            I commend the Management of NIMR led by prof. Salako and particularly Dr. Onwuamah for this laudable breakthrough. I also extend the appreciation of Government to the FATE Philanthropy Coalition for COVID-19 (FPCC) Support Fund for funding the project. Government will continue to support every genuine initiative that contribute to our response plan.

6.            On Friday, 25 September, 2020, I had the privilege of performing the   commissioning and hand over of the Infectious Disease Centre at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital which is a purpose-built infectious disease treatment centre as part of the commitment of the Federal Government to providing the necessary infrastructure and resources for infectious disease management. It will go a long way towards improving our capacity to respond to all infectious diseases.

7.            It is a fall back facility which we do not have to put to use if we observe all necessary preventive measures such as wearing of face masks, observing respiratory hygiene, and physical distancing. In addition, we also need to ensure that we test and isolate all those with symptoms which suggest COVID-19. 

8.            This morning, the top management Committee of the Federal Ministry of Health played host to the Victims Support funds (VSF) who were in the Ministry to officially present some IT equipment to the federal Ministry of Health to boost the technical capacity of personnel support our response to the pandemic. The VSF has been supporting the Ministerial Expert Advisory Committee on COVID-19. I wish to use this opportunity to General T.Y Danjuma and the management of the VSF for the initiative. I recall that the fund has also supported the NCDC as well.

9.            I shall again renew my appeal to state government to continue to ensure that we step up case findings, sample collection and testing. It is only by testing that we can identify those with the infection for isolation and treatment. This is the only way we can truly halt the spread of the disease and confirm that we have actually contained the pandemic.

10.          Our goal is to have at least one standard Infectious Disease centre in every state. We shall therefore work with states establish purpose-built treatment centres that will ensure we are better prepared for infectious disease outbreaks in the country.

11.          Thank you

COVID-19 Vaccines Will Not Be Available Until Next Year – FG

The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, gives an update on COVID-19 in the country during a press conference in Abuja on July 6, 2020.

 

The Federal Government has cautioned Nigerians to be careful during this COVID-19 pandemic era, adding that vaccines will not be available until 2021.

Speaking during a briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Thursday in Abuja, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, asked the citizens to adhere to the non-pharmaceutical interventions.

“Vaccines will not be available until next year at best. No reliable therapeutics has been confirmed but our country must restart businesses, including travel to allow citizens to earn their livelihood,” he said.

He also appealed to Nigerians to adhere to the protocols aimed at reducing the spread of the virus in the country.

“Compliance with all the recommended measures like wearing your masks, social distancing, avoiding gatherings etc will go a long way to help.”

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Speaking further, the Minister again appealed to the striking health workers to call off their industrial actions.

According to him, the best way to settle industrial disputes is to come to the negotiation table with the Federal Government.

“I also use this opportunity to renew my calls to members of the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) to put the plight, safety and well-being of their patients into consideration and to call off the ongoing strike while the differences are being addressed by negotiations.

“It is important to remind ourselves that COVID-19 is real and spreading gradually in some parts of the world as we speak.

“It is risky to believe that it is going away even though it looks as if the figures are reducing here. Some countries are experiencing the so-called second waves with all the complications that go along with this easily spreading disease,” he said.

Striking Doctors Must Be Patient With Government – Health Minister

The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, on Wednesday, said striking resident doctors must be patient with the government as their demands are being met.

The Minister made the plea in an appearance on Channels Television’s special COVID-19 program.

The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) commenced an industrial strike on Monday amid the coronavirus pandemic, citing unmet demands such as the non-payment of COVID-19 hazard allowance.

The doctors, in June, had also downed tools for one week.

Mr Ehanire, on Wednesday, said it was “not a good time to go on strike”.

“Salaries are not outstanding, salaries are paid up-to-date; hazard allowance was outstanding up till a few days ago, as agreed,” Ehanire said. “But there is another tranche that is coming up on stream, which we are talking about with the Ministry of Finance.

“What they must understand is that there are several ministries dealing with these issues. these ministries have a lot on their plate. We are urging and advocating for attention for the doctors. We are asking the doctors for patience. We want to assure them they will not be shortchanged.”

The provision of life insurance is one of the key demands of the doctors.

“The insurance subject is under the office of the Head of Service; it’s a civil servant activity,” the Minister said. “And we are urging the office in charge to expedite settlement for those who lost their lives, to ensure that the insurance is well kept.

“These are not things that will happen overnight. If you don’t get it today, you will get it tomorrow. We are going to ensure that all those promises are kept.”

Earlier on Wednesday, the Minister directed youth service doctors to operate instead of the striking doctors, as government representatives continued to negotiate with NARD officials.

“The NYSC members “are not to take over, but to support the consultants,” Ehanire said. “The consultants are a category of senior doctors who run the programs and are supported by young doctors. Consultants oversee the work of resident doctors and resident doctors oversee the work of youth service doctors.

“Consultants will oversee the work of youth service doctors to make sure that the COVID centres are attended to, emergency centres and essential services are attended to, and then routine services, as much as possible, are also attended to.

“The Ministry has a responsibility to ensure Nigerians continue to receive health services.”

What Nigeria Is Doing To Stay Polio-Free – Health Minister

 

 

The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, on Tuesday, said strategies are already in place to ensure the country stays polio-free.

Nigeria, along with the rest of Africa, was declared polio-free by the World Health Organisation on Tuesday, marking the eradication of a second virus from the continent, since smallpox 40 years ago.

“The chances of a resurgence are chances that we can control if we build up our routine immunisation, which we intend to do,” Ehanire said.

“We are now at about 70 per cent. We know that the remaining 30 per cent is more difficult. So we are developing strategies to expand the coverage up to 90 per cent.

“The difficult areas will be hard-to-reach areas and areas that you will likely not find transport. So we have acquired motorcycles that will be able to carry vaccinators all the way to what we call the ‘last mile’.”

The health minister added that the primary healthcare structure is being expanded to provide services such as routine immunisation.

“And if we have a platform of functional primary healthcare centres, routine immunisation, well established and the surveillance principle is set up – we are carrying out very strict acute flaccid paralysis surveillance – then we should have control of the polio eradication and be able to maintain it.”

 

Historic Day

“Today is a historic day for Africa,” said Professor Rose Gana Fomban Leke, whose commission certified that no polio cases had occurred on the continent for the past four years, the threshold for eradication.

Since 1996, eradication efforts “have prevented up to 1.8 million children from crippling life-long paralysis and saved approximately 180,000 lives,” the UN agency said.

Poliomyelitis — the medical term for polio — is an acutely infectious and contagious virus which attacks the spinal cord and causes irreversible paralysis in children.

 In this file photo taken on April 22, 2017 A Health worker administers a vaccine to a child during a vaccination campaign against polio at Hotoro-Kudu, Nassarawa district of Kano in northwest Nigeria. PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP
In this file photo taken on April 22, 2017 A Health worker administers a vaccine to a child during a vaccination campaign against polio at Hotoro-Kudu, Nassarawa district of Kano in northwest Nigeria. PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP

 

It was endemic around the world until a vaccine was found in the 1950s, though this remained out of reach for many poorer countries in Asia and Africa.

In 1988, when the WHO, UNICEF and Rotary launched the worldwide campaign to eradicate the disease, there were 350,000 cases globally. In 1996, there were more than 70,000 cases in Africa alone.

Thanks to a global effort and financial backing — some $19 billion over 30 years — only Afghanistan and Pakistan have recorded cases this year: 87 in total.

Jihadist attacks

Poliovirus is typically spread in the faeces of an infected person and is picked up through contaminated water or food.

Vaccinating people to prevent them from becoming infected thus breaks the cycle of transmission and eventually eradicates the virus in the wild.

The last case of polio in Africa was detected in 2016 in Nigeria, where vaccination had been violently opposed by jihadists who claimed it was a plot to sterilise Muslims.

More than 20 workers involved in the campaign lost their lives.

A health worker administers polio vaccine drops to a child during a polio vaccination door-to-door campaign in Lahore on August 16, 2020. Arif ALI / AFP
A health worker administers polio vaccine drops to a child during a polio vaccination door-to-door campaign in Lahore on August 16, 2020. Arif ALI / AFP

 

“This is a momentous milestone for Africa. Now future generations of African children can live free of wild polio,” said Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO’s regional director for Africa.

“This historic achievement was only possible thanks to the leadership and commitment of governments, communities, global polio eradication partners and philanthropists,” Moeti said.

“I pay special tribute to the frontline health workers and vaccinators, some of whom lost their lives, for this noble cause.”

The declaration, made at a ministerial-level virtual conference on health issues in Africa, coincided with an announcement in Democratic Republic of Congo that a 25-month epidemic of measles that killed more than 7,000 children was now over, thanks to a massive immunisation effort.

Togo, meanwhile, said it had become the first African country to stop transmission of human African trypanosomiasis — the insect-borne disease known as sleeping sickness.

Joy in Nigeria

Health workers in Nigeria were jubilant at the polio announcement.

“Happiness is an understatement. We’ve been on this marathon for over 30 years,” said Tunji Funsho, a Nigerian doctor and local anti-polio coordinator for Rotary International.

“It’s a real achievement, I feel joy and relief at the same time.”

Nigeria, a country with 200 million inhabitants, was still among the polio trouble-spots in the early 2000s.

In its northern Muslim-majority areas, authorities were forced to stop vaccination campaigns in 2003 and 2004 by Islamic extremists.

It took a huge effort in tandem with traditional chiefs and religious leaders to convince populations that the vaccine was safe.

“People trust their local traditional leaders who live with them more than the political leaders,” said Grema Mundube, a community leader in the town of Monguno, in the far north of Nigeria.

“Once we spoke to them and they saw us immunising our children they gradually accepted the vaccine,” he told AFP.

However, the emergence of violent Islamist group Boko Haram in 2009 caused another rupture in the programme. In 2016, four new cases were discovered in Borno state in the northeast in the heart of the conflict.

“At the time, we couldn’t reach two-thirds of the children of Borno state — 400,000 children couldn’t access the vaccine,” said Dr Funsho.

In “partially accessible” areas, vaccination teams worked under the protection of the Nigerian army and local self-defence militias.

For areas fully controlled by the jihadists, the WHO and its partners sought to intercept people coming in and out along market and transport routes in a bid to spread medical information and recruit “health informants” who could tell them about any polio cases.

Today, it is estimated that only 30,000 children are still “inaccessible”, but this number is considered too low by scientists to allow for an epidemic to break out.

The next step is to ensure that Africa is shielded from any polio cases from Pakistan or Afghanistan and continue vaccinations of children to ensure that communities are safe.

‘A Glorious Day For Nigeria’, FG Lauds Polio Eradication Certification

A file photo of the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, at a press conference in Abuja. Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

The Federal Government has lauded the historic certification of Nigeria and Africa as a polio-free country and continent, respectively.

In a statement on Tuesday, the government welcomed the development as “a glorious day for Nigeria” and fulfilment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s promise.

It noted that the President had given the assurance that his administration would provide the necessary resources to strengthen the health system, routine immunisation, and ensure the country was certified polio-free.

Reacting to the feat recorded, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, described it as the fulfilment of President Buhari’s promise and the resilient spirit of Nigerians, especially frontline health workers who gave Nigeria the pride of place in the comity of nations.

“It is indeed one of the greatest dividends of the present administration,” he was quoted as saying in a statement by Mohammad Ohitoto who is the Head of Public Relations Unit at the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA).

The Executive Director and Chief Executive of NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, could not agree less with the minister on polio eradication in Nigeria.

“It is one classical example of human resilience, wherein the face of adversity, in spite of numerous setbacks, over the course of almost three decades, Nigerians came together, relentlessly worked hard with our donors and development partners to eradicate polio,” he stated.

Polio, Cross River
A file photo of a child with a deformed leg.

 

The NPHCDA boss added that the history of polio eradication in Nigeria was evidence of how the health system could work collaboratively with the community and religious leaders to eradicate any disease.

He stressed that the use of the polio eradication strategy contributed immensely to the rapid control of the Ebola virus outbreak in 2014.

Shuaib, who coordinated the Ebola outbreak response, revealed that the lessons learned from the success of polio eradication “is exactly what we’re using with the COVID-19 outbreak response.”

He said the recent feat did not come easy as it has been a long and arduous journey, with great efforts and investment from the government, donors, as well as local and international partners.

The NPHCDA boss listed them to include Rotary International, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Aliko Dangote Foundation, WHO, Unicef, CDC, USAID, Gavi, EU, Global Affairs Canada, DFID, World Bank, JICA, KfW, and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, to mention a few.

He pointed out that the major problem the programme faced was insecurity, saying it affected the effort at achieving polio eradication.

Shuaib, however, believes the polio programme was able to surmount this problem and others through the establishment of the Presidential Task Force on Polio Eradication, the Polio Emergency Operation Centers (EOC), the Northern Traditional Leaders Committee on Polio Eradication led by the Sultan of Sokoto, among others.

He attributed the achievement to the leadership provided by President Buhari, Ehanire, traditional and religious leaders, local and international partners, all health workers, and the Nigerian populace.

The NPHCDA also dedicated the certification to the memory of all those who lost their lives in the cause of polio eradication, describing them as Polio Heroes.

Nigeria Working With WHO To Track COVID-19 Vaccine Development – Health Minister

File photo: Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire.

 

 

Nigeria is working with the World Health Organisation to finalise enrollment with ACT Accelerator, a global mechanism tracking and sponsoring research organisations working on covid19 vaccine development.

Minister of Health Dr Osagie Ehanire said this on Thursday during a briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

“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),” the minister said.

 

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a press conference organised by the Geneva Association of United Nations Correspondents (ACANU) amid the COVID-19 outbreak, caused by the novel coronavirus, on July 3, 2020 at the WHO headquarters in Geneva. Fabrice COFFRINI / POOL / AFP
File photo: World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a press conference organised by the Geneva Association of United Nations Correspondents (ACANU) amid the COVID-19 outbreak, caused by the novel coronavirus, on July 3, 2020 at the WHO headquarters in Geneva. Fabrice COFFRINI / POOL / AFP

 

“This will prioritise Nigeria for allocation of a part of two billion vaccines doses that will be secured, in a special plan to protect the interests of poorer countries.”

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria crossed the 50,000 mark on Wednesday with the death toll at 985, despite efforts to halt the spread of the pandemic.

 

 

 

Dr Ehanire who noted the data, including the fact 37,304 people have recovered from the virus, warned that the continued emergence of new cases is evidence that “COVID-19 has not abated”.

With the race for a vaccine still on and deaths being reported from across the world amid fears of a second wave of the pandemic, the health minister once again called for concerted efforts from all Nigerians to halt the spread of the disease.

“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,” he said.

“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 the appropriate wearing of face masks, physical distancing, and respiratory hygiene, we can control the spread of this disease.”

As people play their parts, Dr Ehanire gave the assurance that the Health sector, on its part, is being strengthened and new coping measures are being developed to counter the challenges 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.”

Report Anyone Who Demands Payment For COVID-19 Test – Ehanire

The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, gives an update on COVID-19 in the country during a press conference in Abuja on July 6, 2020.

 

The Federal Government has asked Nigerians to report anyone who demands payment for the conduct of COVID-19 test in the country.

Speaking on Monday during a briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said COVID-19 test remains free.

“I wish to remind everyone that government-run testing for COVID-19 is free. Please report anyone who demands payment for necessary action,” he said.

Ehanire noted that as of July 6, Nigeria has recorded a total of 28,711 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country out of 152,952 tests conducted.

READ ALSO: FG To Shut Third Mainland Bridge For Six Months

While explaining that 11,665 people have been treated successfully and discharged, he, however, regretted that 645 fatalities have unfortunately occurred.

Stressing further, the Health Minister lamented that June (last month) recorded half the total number of deaths recorded so far.

“It means that just under half of the total fatalities so far recorded occurred in that single month of June. While we more than doubled the tests done and the number of cases detected.

“The reduction in case fatality rate is down to about 2.2 per cent as opposed to about 5 per cent we have seen on global average,” he said.

Doctors’ Strike: This Is The Most Sincere Govt Nigeria Has Ever Had – Health Minister

File: The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire speaks on the Federal Government’s response to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in the country on March 1, 2020.

 

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire has urged resident doctors in the country to call off their strike action, saying the present government will keep to its promises to them. 

Dr Ehanire made the appeal on Friday during his appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.

While reacting to claims that the government has not kept to its promises to the health workers, Dr. Ehanire said the President Muhammadu Buhari government has a track record of being sympathetic to the people and keeping its promises.

READ ALSO: Nigeria Moves Closer To Attaining Polio-Free Status

“We have made it clear to them (doctors) that this government is the most sincere and serious government this country has ever had. His (Buhari) word is his bond,” the minister assured.

According to him, “This government has a record of being sympathetic to people, of meeting its obligations and keeping to its promises.”

He recalled that the present government paid the Nigerian Airways pension arrears as well as kept to other promises it made to Nigerians.

Doing ‘Things Differently’

The Minister, however, lamented that it is hard to convince people who do not want to be convinced about the government’s sincerity, adding that a lot has changed in the country since this present administration came on board.

He, therefore, called on the striking doctors to reconsider their action for the interest of the country, assuring that government will keep to its end of the bargain.

“This government does things differently,” he explained. “This is a government that says its word and keeps to its words. We would not do anything to hurt you. We work in your (doctors) interest.”

According to him, Nigeria cannot afford to have the doctors on strike at this time when the health system is strained globally due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr Ehanire added: “We are going through a very difficult time with other countries and this is quite clearly not the time to add more to our problems by deciding to go on strike.

“I am worried that we are probably the first and only country where doctors have decided to go on strike.”

Members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) had embarked on an indefinite nationwide strike on Monday.

NARD President, Dr Aliyu Sokomba, announced this while addressing a press conference on Monday in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

He noted that the union has decided to exempt its members working in various coronavirus (COVID-19) isolation and treatment centres across the country.

 

 

 

 

How Nigeria Can Limit COVID-19 Death Rate – Health Minister

A file photo of the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, at a press conference in Abuja. Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

 

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has explained how Nigeria can reduce the death rate as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Addressing reporters on Thursday in Abuja, he urged Nigerians to see the increase in the number of confirmed cases as a warning that fatalities would increase too.

Ehanire, who spoke at the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, however, said there was no cause for alarm as certain measures could be taken to control the death toll.

He noted that a majority of fatalities recorded were over 50 years and those with pre-existing ailments such as diabetes, cancer, and hypertension, among others.

The minister urged the people to specially protect those who fall in such groups, adding that they should be encouraged to stay at home to limit them from getting exposed to COVID-19.

He stressed the need for them to wear face masks once outside their houses, or when inside the house with persons who may have been exposed.

According to Ehanire, such categories of people must observe all other non-pharmaceutical advisories, including frequent hand washing, social distancing, respiratory hygiene, and use of sanitiser among others.

He urged them to avoid going to market, worship centres, and places where there can be a crowd.

The minister advised all persons in the vulnerable group who tested positive to immediately go to a treatment centre, in their own interest.

He warned that by staying at home, complications could arise easily and suddenly, especially at a time when there would be no immediate help available.

Read the full text of the minister’s remarks at the PTF briefing below:

PRESS BRIEFING BY HON. MINISTER OF HEALTH, DR. OSAGIE EHANIRE AT THE PRESIDENTIAL TASK FORCE ON COVID-19 PRESS BRIEFING ON THURSDAY 18TH JUNE, 2020

PROTOCOL

The Nigeria Center for Disease Control yesterday announced 587 new confirmed covid-19 cases, increasing the total tally to 17,735. We have treated and discharged 5,967 persons and 469 persons have sadly been lost to the disease.

We have said that the increasing number of cases should be a warning that fatalities will increase too; but there are measures we can take, to limit case fatality rate.

1  Since majority of fatalities are over 50 years of age, or have pre-existing ailments like diabetes, cancer, hypertension, kidney disease, HIV, etc, this group of citizens has to be specially protected.

2  This protection begins with limiting their exposure to risks of covid19 infection by urging stay at home, except there is urgent and dire need to go out.

3  To wear a face mask or a covering at any time, once outside the house, or when inside the house with persons who may have been exposed.

4  To observe all other non-pharmaceutical advisory, like frequent hand washing, social distancing, respiratory hygiene, sanitizer use, etc.

5  I must emphasize that going to places where there can be a crowd, like market or also places of worship carries risk of increased exposure.  l also stress that being in a closed room increases the risk of exposure to infection in proportion to the number of people and the length of time spent with them, because the likelihood of presence of a positive person increases with the number and infection with time of exposure.

6  All persons in the vulnerable group who test positive should go to a treatment center immediately, in their own best interest. A vuln5person is not among those who should risk staying at home, because complications can arise easily and suddenly or at an odd hour of the day or night when there will be no immediate help available.

7  Any person who tested positive and opted to stay home or elsewhere should move to a treatment centre at the first sign of fever or shortness of breath. A delay can be fatal because the disease progression can be unpredictable and faster than imagined.

8  Witherspoon these important measures, we could mitigate the fatality rate. The novel coronavirus is still among us and is infecting people daily, including prominent members of the society. Friends and family have an increasingly important role to play in helping to guide compliance with this advisory. Till it goes away, whenever that is, we must take extreme precaution when going to public places.

I also had the honour yesterday, of joining Mr. President at the China-Africa Extraordinary Summit on Solidarity Against the COVID-19 pandemic, where the desirability of sharing knowledge from research and experience was emphasized, as PTF Chair has reported. This is of value to us because China has considerable experience with covid19.

​Earlier yesterday, I signed a bilateral agreement with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on cooperation in the area of public health and medical sciences. The agreement is to start cooperation between both countries in these areas:

(a) Exchanging experience in public health and health sciences

(b) Facilitation of visits by scientists and Exchanging information in research.

​On Monday, 15th June, 2020, I inaugurated the governing council of the Pharmacist Council of Nigeria, where the Council was charged to refocus aspects of the profession to meet up with the realities of today as the Covid-19 Pandemic has brought medicine security to the fore front.

​We have updated the case management guidelines with reviewed changes like discharge criteria and medication used for the treatment of cases. Our treatment centres will be getting an advisory to test applicability of a drug recently repurposed and found effective for treatment of COVID-19

The engagement of States and support for them in management of covid19 will continue to increase with increased capacity building. The Ministry of Health will also be prioritizing the procurement of oxygen generators alongside ventilators as our experience so far shows that oxygen supplementation is in high demand in treatment.

Thank you for your attention.

COVID-19: Our Trials With Indigenous Herbs Have Not Yielded Results Yet – Ehanire

 

The Minister for Health, Osagie Ehanire, has said that the ongoing trials with indigenous herbs for COVID-19, have not yielded any results yet.

He said this on Friday, during a special Democracy Day programme on Channels Television, while responding to questions about Nigeria’s current efforts in the fight against the pandemic.

The minister made mention of the samples of the traditional remedies which Nigeria recently received from Madagascar.

According to him, they have been given to research centers and “the Nigeria Center for Pharmaceutical Research and Development, the Institute of Medical Research in Yaba, and also the organs of the Ministry of Science and Technology are looking into these herbal remedies.”

“The indigenous herbs that have also been developed for trial have also not yet yielded the results,” he added.

Read Also: Buhari Receives Herbal Remedy For COVID-19 From Madagascar

The health minister also noted that Nigeria will continue to work with the World Health Organisation to develop possible solutions to the virus.

 

 

“As far as the other medicines are concerned, we are working with the World Health Organisation solidarity trial, to see what medicines may work.

“We have tried Chloroquine, we are trying Hydroxychloroquine and some other combinations including anti-retroviral drugs which are believed to have the potential to halt the growth of the virus.

“Some of them are said to work invitro (outside the body) but it is not yet confirmed that they also work inside the body (invivo).

“The tests are still going on and we do not have any conclusive reports at yet,” Ehanire said.

About 60% Of 979 Deaths In Kano Linked To COVID-19 – Health Minister

A file photo of the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, at a press conference in Abuja. Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

 

About 60 per cent of the 979 deaths reported in Kano State may have been triggered by coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, disclosed this on Monday at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 which held in Abuja.

He explained that the figures were the outcome of an investigation carried out by the Federal Government to unravel the circumstances that led to the death of hundreds of residents in Kano.

According to the minister, the deaths were reported in April from eight municipal local government areas of the state.

He noted that the initial figure was 43 deaths per day at the peak before it settled at the rate of 11 deaths per day, weeks later.

Ehanire revealed that about 56 per cent of the deaths were recorded at home and 38 per cent were confirmed in the hospital.

He added that investigation indicated that between 50 to 60 per cent of the deaths were as a result of COVID-19 in the face of pre-existing health challenges.

The minister informed reporters at the briefing that most of the victims were aged above 65, saying a majority died due to their inability to access routine healthcare at the time.

He appealed to Nigerians to continue to wear face masks at all times in the public as is a valuable safety precaution against the disease.

Ehanire also urged them to observe respiratory hygiene, wash their hands regularly, use sanitisers, and adhere to physical distancing.

 

Read the minister’s remarks at the briefing below:

PRESS BRIEFING BY HON. MINISTER OF HEALTH, DR. OSAGIE EHANIRE AT THE PRESIDENTIAL TASK FORCE ON COVID-19 PRESS BRIEFING ON MONDAY 8TH JUNE, 2020

PROTOCOL

Saturday 6th June 2020 marked 100 days since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Nigeria. In that period, we have seen a lot and learned a lot about this novel virus, about which so little was known at inception. I used that occasion to give a live update on our Nation’s response on the Federal Ministry of Health social media platforms.

In these 100 days, we have tested over 76,800 persons, recorded 12,486 confirmed COVID-19 cases in 35 States and FCT, successfully treated and discharged 3,959 persons, but sadly lost 354 Nigerians, most of whom had underlying illnesses. May their souls rest in peace.

Our response during this period has been focused and targeted; at the initial phase, on screening travellers at Points of Entry, testing for virus importation, tracing their contacts and isolating positive cases.

Since our entry into the community transmission phase, we have begun more aggressive tracking and testing and increased our laboratory network capacity from 5 to presently 30 molecular laboratories,  with a plan for at least one laboratory in every state. This way, turnaround time is reduced to a minimum and case finding and management will run smoothly.

Management of infected cases is being reviewed and improved, with revised Clinical Guidelines to be published in accordance with the learnings and evolving dynamics associated with COVID-19 and global best practices.

This includes new discharge protocols, treatment regimen for asymptomatic or symptomatic cases with various clinical conditions. We continue to collaborate with States and the FCT with regard to their management of cases with provision of commodities,  training and other technical support where needed.

​The 2-day Webinar held on the 3rd and 4th of June on the effect of COVID-19 on health and care management of the elderly was conducted in collaboration with the West African Health Organization (WAHO), and took a critical look at various aspects of the impact of the disease on the elderly, who are usually at higher risk of infection.

The outcome of the webinar provides grounds for policy direction for care of the elderly during and beyond COVID-19. The general recommendation is that senior citizens are vulnerable and should stay at home most times and wear a mask once outside their home.

​This morning, the Federal Ministry of Health received the report of the Ministerial Task Team that went to Kano, to support the COVID-19 response with commodities, training, technical and confidence-building measures.

The visit was extended to fact-finding excursions to offer support to five other states. With the observations and recommendations from the three-week assignment, the committee developed a Strategic Incident Action Plan to strengthen the coordination capacity of the health workers and improve community engagement in line with our response plan.

While over 150 health workers had been infected at the time of their arrival, there was no report of infection among health workers who had received training on infection prevention and control, thus restoring confidence. The intervention of the ministerial task force has been a game-changer for Kano and some northern States.

With regard to unexplained deaths in Kano which occurred in April, the team confirmed from graveyard records, that a total of 979 deaths were recorded in 8 municipal LGA in the state at a rate of 43 deaths per day, with a peak in the second week of April.

By the beginning of May, the death rate had reduced to the 11 deaths per day it used to be.  The verbal autopsy revealed that about 56% of deaths had occurred at home while 38% were in a hospital. With circumstantial evidence as all to go by, investigation suggests that between 50-60% of the deaths may have been triggered by or due to COVID-19, in the face of preexisting ailments. Most fatalities were over 65 years of age.

I thank Dr Gwarzo, Prof Nasidi, members of the team, especially the contingent from Irrua, for diligently carrying out this assignment and achieving their targets.

It is gratifying to note that they all returned safely and had no incident of contracting the infection. I also commend His Excellency, the Governor of Kano State for his support to the team throughout.

Finally, I wish to again remind everyone that wearing your face mask at all times in the public, or even inside your house, when not sure of your company, is a valuable safety precaution for you, your family and friends.

Be advised to observe respiratory hygiene, wash hands regularly, use sanitizers and adhere to physical distancing.

Thank you for your attention.

Not All Sanitisers In Circulation Are Up To Standard – Health Minister

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, at a press conference in Abuja on the confirmed case of coronavirus on February 28, 2020. Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.
FILE PHOTO: The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, at a press conference in Abuja. PHOTO: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, on Tuesday, said a study carried out by a research institution in the Federal Ministry of Health revealed that not all sanitisers in circulation are up to standard.

Ehanire said this while addressing journalists at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) briefing on COVID-19 in Abuja.

He also gave an advisory on identifying standard sanitisers in the market stressing the importance of checking the NAFDAC number and ingredients used in producing the sanitiser.

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“I will start by using the opportunity to issue an advisory on sanitiser. You will see a lot of sanitisers out in the market. A study carried out by research institution in the Ministry of Health has shown not all of them are up to standard.

“In buying sanitisers, there is an advisory I will like to share. You must look first of all at the NAFDAC number. A sanitiser should have a NAFDAC number.

“Secondly, it should have a place where the ingredients are displayed. You must see that it contains a minimum of 60% alcohol. If it is anything different from that, the sanitiser is not going to do the job you think it is doing,” he said.

The Minister also gave an update on health workers who have recovered from COVID-19. He said the health workers are currently being observed for a period of 14 days before they return to work.