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.
“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.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has called on medical doctors and other healthcare professionals to shun unauthorised treatment of persons infected with coronavirus (COVID-19).
He made the call on Thursday during the briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
“All healthcare professionals and associated personnel should diligently follow safety infection prevention and control protocols – both inside and outside healthcare facilities, and not to indulge in unauthorised treatment of COVID-19 cases,” the minister said.
He explained that the appeal was important to reduce the incidences of health workers getting infected with the disease.
Ehanire noted that the government was committed to increasing its capacity for testing for coronavirus cases in the country.
He said, “21 laboratories nationwide are now operational for COVID-19 testing as we work to drive up demands.”
On the situation in Kano, the minister noted that a task team from the Federal Ministry of Health has been deployed in the state.
According to him, the team is working with the state government and is fully engaged with activities that strongly emphasise training and capacity building for all personnel.
Ehanire explained that this was to help rebuild the manpower in Kano and the federal health facilities in the state, as well as the non-medical personnel.
He revealed that laboratories in Kano have been directed to work in shifts to reduce the turnaround time for testing and enable the faster return of results.
The minister also hinted that the returnees from Dubai would be tested and those whose results return positive would be taken for treatment.
The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, says Nigeria and the rest of the world have experienced and survived previous epidemics so he is optimistic that the world would also overcome the COVID-19 soon.
Although he admitted that the coronavirus has crippled the world’s economies, he said it would soon be a thing of the past in Nigeria.
The Minister stated this on Friday during a daily press briefing in Abuja by the Presidential Task Force on the coronavirus disease.
“We have survived many past epidemics but COVID-19 has been the most difficult and damaging that nations and healthcare systems have faced in recent times,” he said.
The Federal Government has announced plans to deploy ambulances as well as a fact-finding committee to Kano State.
This is to ascertain the true extent of the effect of the COVID-19 in the state, as well as to improve the state’s efforts in fighting the spread of the disease.
The Minister for Health, Osagie Ehanire, disclosed this on Tuesday during the Presidential Task Force briefing on the COVID-19 in Abuja.
“I know his Excellency, the governor, to be someone who is very well interested in the health of his people and he will be receiving a high-power, a nine-man delegation sent to Kano, by the Federal Ministry of Health today on a fact-finding mission and also to offer support to the COVID-19 response in Kano,” the minister said.
This comes amidst reports of multiple deaths in the state as a result of the COVID-19.
But the state government has termed the reports as fake news, insisting that many of the deaths being reported are not attributed to the virus.
Fresh concerns were, however, raised last week, after testing came to a halt in the state, due to insufficient testing kits.
The number of infections in the state has now risen to 77, while three persons are said to have died from the virus.
Thankfully, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) announced in the early hours of today that testing has now resumed in the state.
“Thanks to incredible efforts of a joint Team from & our partners, the #COVID-19 lab at AKTH, Kano is back up & testing has resumed at the 2nd lab at Bayero University Kano will be activated tomorrow, not where we want to be yet, but will #keeppushing”, the NCDC DG, Chikwe Ihekweazu tweeted.
To also support that drive, the Minister for Health, announced that some ambulances would be sent to the state.
“Ambulances are also to be deployed to Kano to support the state on the provision of emergency patient transportation services”.
The Minister for Health, Osagie Ehanire, says the Nigerian army has agreed to support isolation centres in the country with security as the need arises.
Ehanire said this on Tuesday while answering questions around security during the Presidential Task Force briefing on COVID-19 in Abuja.
“We have had to speak to security forces about that and I can say quite happily and proudly that the Nigerian Army has agreed to support isolation centres with security as the need arises”, the minister said.
“So we shall be applying for their support in situations where we need security for all our patients and also those who are awaiting results or who have been tested.”
Speaking about other efforts being made by the government to fight the spread of the disease, Ehanire said: “The Ministry of Health has set up a ministerial expert advisory committee, made up of eminent Nigerian virologists, public health experts, infectious disease and diagnostic experts and others, to study the evolution and development of the COVID-19 outbreak, especially as we go into this community transmission phase.”
The minister also responded to concerns about the increasing number of cases.
According to him, that could be “evidence of improved testing but also stronger signs of community transmissions”.
“The highly propagated social measures like social distancing and postponement of all non-essential travel have had only limited success,” he admitted.
He, however, stressed that it is a reminder that we need to redouble our efforts to comply with advisories, “especially as restrictions have been eased”.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Monday, announced an extension of the lockdown in key cities like the FCT Abuja, Ogun State and Lagos by one week, after which he asked the states to begin to ease the lockdown in phases to avoid to a total breakdown of the economy.
With this, Ehanire believes that “much more stringent compliance” to hygiene measures such as constant washing of hands, wearing of masks and maintaining physical distance, “will be required from all of us in order not to have any reversal.”
He also stated that provisions will be made for “holding bay for suspected cases before their results come out.”
The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, says President Muhammadu Buhari will determine when to lift the lockdown order in Lagos, Abuja and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Ehanire disclosed this on Sunday during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics regarding efforts made by the Federal Government to tackle COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
“The President will make that announcement in his own time. We will give him the facts, he will consider the facts and make his own announcements using his own wisdom,” the Minister said.
In order to curtail the spread of COVID-19 in the country, President Buhari had on May 29 declared a total lockdown.
While directing the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, Buhari asked all citizens in the affected areas to stay in their homes, adding that travel to or from other states should be postponed.
Two weeks after the expiration, the President extended the lockdown on April 13 for another two weeks.
But when asked if it is professionally wise to relax the lockdown or to extend it, the Minister did not affirm or oppose the question.
He believes that every country has the right to balance the medical and health-related benefits from the economic-related benefits.
According to him, the decision of whether or not to extend the lockdown has to be tailored according to the needs of Nigerians.
“What happens is that every country, you balance the medical and the health-related benefits from the economic-related benefits because you have an economy you don’t want to kill and you also have the health side that you don’t want to destroy.
“It’s a very delicate balance which you need to do. All countries do that; it’s not only in our country. Even in the United States, they have that debate all the time. Do we open the economy now or do we not open it now?” he said.
Speaking on the mysterious deaths in Kano, the Minister explained that a delegation will be sent to the state to thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding the loss of lives there.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, says about 40 health workers have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.
Dr Ehanire disclosed this on Thursday during the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
He, therefore, appealed to medical workers in the frontline of the COVID-19 fight to always protect themselves while giving treatment to infected patients.
“I applaud all our health workers in the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic and the government will continue to provide you with the necessary protective equipment,” the minister said.
He added, “I urge you all to take all the necessary precautions for your own safety, please do not try to treat patients without using adequate PPE.
“Frontline workers must undertake refresher courses training in IPC at intervals. This advice is necessary due to the number of health workers who have tested positive – they are over 40 now.”
The minister noted that Nigeria recorded 91 new infections on Wednesday, out of which 74 cases were confirmed in Lagos.
He explained that the high number of cases reported recently was as a result of increased testing and community transmission.
Dr Ehanire stated that even though the testing centres have the capacity to test above 1,000 samples daily, only about 600 people come in daily for testing.
According to him, there is a huge number of people who tested positive but have not developed any symptoms.
In his opening remarks at the briefing, the PTF chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, stressed the need for Nigerians to cooperate with efforts targeted at flattening the curve of COVID-19 in the country.
He also raised concerns about the noncompliance of some private hospitals with the government’s directives, saying they still treat cases of COVID-19 secretly.
The SGF, therefore, called on owners of private hospitals across the country who want to treat COVID-19 patients to seek approval from the Federal Ministry of Health.
He also appealed to survivors of COVID-19 to tell their stories in order to encourage others to come forward for a test to curb the spread of the disease.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has faulted the Health Minister, Osagie Ehanire, over the handling of welfare for medical experts and first responders of the COVID-19 disease in the country.
At a briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Thursday with members of the House of Representatives, Gbajabiamila asked if there was a hazard allowance for the medical experts who are putting their lives at risk to curb the spread of the COVID-19.
But in response, the minister said he was not aware and because they are civil servants, he couldn’t speak much of their payment structure.
Unimpressed by the response, the Speaker said the minister had dropped the ball regarding matters that concerned his sector and area of expertise.
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Over 100,000 Deaths Worldwide
With over 100,000 deaths now recorded globally, nations have continued to make frantic efforts to save lives and curb the spread of the virus.
But those on the frontlines of the fight – medical experts, who have also not been spared from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 are gradually becoming a major source for concern even as healthcare systems world over, become overwhelmed.
In Nigeria, however, more isolation centres are being opened up and more health professionals both locally and internationally are being injected into the system to boost the fight.
The Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) had also stated that it is making all efforts to increase its testing capacity for the COVID-19 in the country.
But the Director-General of the commission, Chikwe Ihekweazu, admitted that the fight against the pandemic has been limited by funds and infrastructure and the “biggest limitation” – human resources.
However, as of April 2, the health minister noted that the testing capacity of the country has improved to 1,500 persons per day.
The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, says more than one million masks are about to be received into the country from China.
Addressing reporters on Monday in Abuja, he explained that the masks were being sent by a Chinese construction company, CCECC, as parts of its corporate social responsibility efforts to help Nigeria combat the coronavirus pandemic.
CCECC, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, is in charge of a number of Nigeria’s major railway construction projects.
The masks are to be accompanied by ventilators, Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and an 18-man team made up of Chinese medical and technical experts, the Minister said during the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
Ehanire believes the supplies being brought in by China are “globally scarce” and will “augment government support and build capacity to contain the outbreak.”
The Roles To Play
“Many of you who read the news know that there is a global competition for masks, that certain countries have been accusing each other of capturing each other’s masks,” he said.
“There has also been a global competition for ventilators with some countries donating ventilators to others and also swapping ventilators.
“So . . . it is particularly pacifying that in the face of all of this, we are able to get these supplies here, which even if we had the money, we would not have been able to order.
“In addition, the technical experts will comprise research doctors, nurses and laboratory technicians with public health managers who will share their own knowledge and skills – and their real-life experiences of fighting COVID-19 – with Nigerian experts to strengthen our own management of cases, especially with regard to critical care.
“As we all know, this country (China) has had quite an experience with it,” he added.
The Most Needed PPE
The Minister stressed the usefulness of the equipment being brought in and how the country would benefit from the knowledge of the Chinese experts.
He said, “Now, this initiative will greatly build the capacity of our hard-working and resourceful Nigerian healthcare workers who are at the forefront of fighting the virus.
“But the most needed PPE and masks will also protect our frontline workers and mitigate the spread of this disease.
“We do have a window of opportunity to strengthen our response mechanisms through lessons we learn from any country that has had the experience and can provide a hands-on demonstration of how to deal with the outbreak and give Nigerian clinical workforce the opportunity of sharing global best practices.”
On Friday, Nigeria’s health minister, Osagie Ehanire, joined other members of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to provide updates on steps the country is taking to combat the pandemic. Below are the six most important things he said:
1. Number of cases will continue to increase
Nigeria is nowhere yet at the finish line in terms of the number of new cases, according to the Minister. But if people strictly observe social distancing and other measures put in place such as hand-washing, things will get better.
What he said: We are already seeing what may be the indications of sustained community transmission in the sense that 30 per cent of the cases have incomplete epidemiological information; while 51 per cent are imported cases and 19 per cent are contacts of known cases.
We are using the small window of opportunity remaining to intensify investigations to identify cases and their sources. This is one of the purposes for which the lockdown of two states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) was proclaimed by the President. These areas, especially Lagos, are primary epicentres. But also other parts of the federation will need to speed up their activities to detect and isolate COVID-19 patients. During and following the lockdown, we expect to see an increase in cases as a measure of improvement in case finding.
If all the social distancing and other measures are adhered to, the incidence of positive cases can be controlled.
2. Nigeria is ramping up testing
The country is working very hard to increase the number of coronavirus tests being carried out in the country. The Minister has noted this before, but he also noted that new milestones have been reached.
What he said: We have tested nearly 3,000 samples so far and we are working hard to scale up our capacity in a targeted approach.
Coronavirus treatment centre accreditation committee was inaugurated yesterday by the Honourable Minister of State for Health and (the committee) has begun developing an accreditation checklist, as well as a protocol for the management of isolation centres.
We are compiling a list of trained workers in the health sectors to man the centres as they become operational.
3. COVID-19 might be good for local innovation
The Minister said the country was looking inward in order to produce essential medical kits required to combat the pandemic.
What he said: Directors of the Federal Ministry of Health had discussions with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and the Manufacturer Association of Nigeria to explore the potential for local production of medical consumables such as face-masks, gloves sanitizers and even equipment like ventilators. This is in view of the looming global shortages of medical supplies for response due to high demand by all countries.
4. No cure yet, but research is ongoing
Yes, chloroquine has been touted as the drug that might be quite useful in dealing with COVID-19, but nothing has been confirmed yet. In Nigeria, doctors are also still trying to figure out how to treat patients.
What he said: Clinical trials and other processes are ongoing to validate various therapeutics for COVID-19 treatment.
5. China is lending a helping hand
The country responsible for most of Nigeria’s recent infrastructure projects, China, has also been visible in the fight against COVID-19. According to the Minister, China is sending doctors and (more) kits to support the government’s efforts.
What he said: I have been notified of gifts of medical supplies from China, courtesy of a group of Chinese companies working here in Nigeria. A special cargo aircraft shall leave Nigeria in a few days to collect the items which include commodities, Personal Protective Equipments (PPE), and ventilators.
Of great interest is that an 18-man team of medical experts, including doctors, nurses and public health advisers shall come along with the flight to assist us.
6. COVID-19 is a disaster, but life continues
While it might seem like COVID-19 is the most important health challenge right now, Nigeria still has to deal with other types of medical emergencies. The Minister reminded the medical community about that on Friday.
What he said: I must, at this juncture, commend frontline health workers who are doing a great job in case identification and management. As we prepare to contain COVID-19 outbreak, we must not lose sight of other health challenges in our country. Routine healthcare services must continue in all hospitals. Only a wing of tertiary centres need to be put to use for infected patients.
I also urge all states to find more beds for isolation and treatment, and this may include renting hotels. It is important that we do not drop but continue our services, including maternal and child health and immunisation. I shall communicate this to the commissioners of health of the states. I shall also instruct all federal health institutions to this effect and for them to work with state officials.
Those who have to deal with coronavirus patients are, as I said, to commit only a wing of their hospitals. And to this purpose, they have all been supplied with starter-packs of Personal Protective Equipment and consumables.
I want to remind you all again that all these efforts will not be effective if we do not cooperate fully with the government. We recognise that the lockdown may be difficult and inconvenient, but it is necessary for the good of us all.
The Nigerian Government has confirmed the second death from coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, announced this on Monday during the Presidential Task Force Briefing on COVID-19 in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
He said, “Till date, three persons have been discharged after successful treatment. But sadly, another fatality was recorded over the weekend in the person of a patient who had severe underlying illnesses.
“We have intensified contact tracing and our strategy remains to promptly detect cases, isolate them, and follow up with their contacts and also isolate and treat, in order to reduce the spread of the infection.”
“As of today, the 30th of March, 2020, we have recorded 111 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria of which 68 are in Lagos, 21 in the FCT, seven in Oyo, three in Ogun, two in Bauchi, two in Edo, two in Osun, two in Enugu, and one each in Benue, Ekiti, Kaduna and Rivers States,” Ehanire added.
He stressed that Nigeria has 111 confirmed cases of COVID-19, saying a majority of them were persons who came in from overseas.
According to the health minister, the highest number of confirmed cases are in Lagos and Abuja because they serve as the major gateways to the country.
He also informed the gathering that all retired but able-bodied staff of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and the Federal Ministry of Health were being recalled.
Ehanire warned Nigerians to protect the elderly among them, as well as those having underlying health issues as they were the most vulnerable.
In his opening remarks, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, informed the audience that the briefing would be a daily event.
He explained that the purpose was to give an update and minimise the incidence of fake news in the country.
Mustapha stressed that the briefing would be the only approved briefing of the task force, although appearances on TV by relevant members would be allowed.
He announced that President Muhammadu Buhari has constituted a committee headed by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, to care for the economic challenges that the situation may bring for the time being.
The SGF also clarified the controversy triggered by the restriction of movement in Lagos and Ogun States, as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
He allayed the fear of Nigerians, saying workers in the financial institutions were not included in the stay-at-home order declared by the President in his Sunday broadcast to the nation.