The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has revealed that 60 Public Health Laboratories are active in Nigeria, which together should be in a position to address testing capacity challenges and to ramp up utilization if only the logistics could be improved. He made this known at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 Press Briefing held on Monday, 27th July, 2020.
Dr. Ehanire revealed that the COVID-19 cases in Nigeria crossed the 40.000 mark to 40,534 over the weekend, with 555 new cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of confirmed in Nigeria 262,579 of which 17,374 were successfully treated and discharged, “We regrettably lost 858 person, most of them with co-morbidities, he said.
The Minister informed that the 70 to 30 male to female gender ratio and the case fatality rate of 2.1% have not changed significantly but two thirds of all fatalities remain within the age bracket of 50 years, while co-morbidities like diabetes, hypertension, asthma, etc are common among fatalities. He added that there is need to protect the elderly and the vulnerable from the infection, by giving special attention to risk communication and priority for admission for observation and treatment.
He stressed that “We continue to strive to improve the quality of services in our hospitals as more persons are admitted to treatment, not only for COVID-19 infection, but also for routine and essential care.”
The Honourable Minister also added that it is our desire to reduce the fatality rates, and expand our treatment capacity such that our health system is not overwhelmed. “In this regards, the FMoH expects to take delivery of the newly completed Isolation Centres at The University of Abuja Teaching Hospital Gwagwalada (UATH), AS other centres are under construction nationwide.”
Speaking further, Dr. Ehanire disclosed that the UN System in Nigeria has informed us of the arrival of another consignment of essential COVID-19 related commodities, to be officially handed over to the Federal government of Nigeria. “We remain appreciative of the UN System for this gesture and their consistent support, which greatly increases our reserves and recognizes our need, especially of oxygen concentrators and PPEs, but also reassures our frontline health workers that we are well stocked and can ensure availability of essential items and consumables at point of use.”
The Minister seized the opportunity of his briefing to officially introduce the Country Representative of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulamo, who he said assumed duty in Abuja some days ago, and wish him a successful tenure.
The Minister again, expressed appreciation to all the frontline health workers, whose services have helped to reduce the fatality rate and urge them to continue their work in line with the global best practices in case management and to remain safe and take no risks. “Coronavirus does not respect doctors or nurses”, he said.
In his usual manner, the Minister reminded Nigerians not to forget the prescribed precautions and to “reduce the risk of transmission even as we celebrate.” “Wear your face mask at all times, especially when out of your home; wash your hand regularly; use sanitizers, practise social distancing.” “I again remind everyone that controlling the spread of COVID-19 is not the responsibility of Government alone, but of us all, individually and collectively.