As Nigeria continues to record a downward trend in numbers of daily COVID-19 positives cases and fatalities, the Honourable Minister of Health Dr. Osagie Ehanire has admonished Nigerians to continue to adhere to COVID-19 protocols and health advisories in order to avoid a 2nd wave of infections.
The Minister of Health gave this charge at the Presidential Task Force briefing on COVID-19, held on Monday, 21st September, 2020, where he stated that Nigeria cannot afford to rejoice or speak of success as a result of dwindling figures, because many countries of which had been thought to have defeated COVID-19 are now experiencing an upsurge in cases called the second wave, threatening their health systems.
Dr. Ehanire said that second wave of infections is a situation that must be averted and for that to happen all steps must be taken. He emphasised the need for Nigeria to generate, national and international confidence in its data, by conducting more targeted testing before we draw conclusions. ”It means that all States and Local Government Areas must cooperate with NCDC by raising sample collection rate, using criteria listed, to increase testing to a desired rate and to report promptly; as we are still far from the target of 2 million tests. In this regard we can support States with community volunteers for contact tracing, case finding and investigation”, the Minister stated.
The Honourable Minister of Health, said that with regards to COVID-19 and growing complacence, it is important to stress that, even though adults, especially those 60 years and above are more vulnerable, complications do occur in all age groups. Records show that 10% of all positive cases treated were below the age of 19 years. They are also the same mobile group that can be without symptoms, but can easily spread the disease. He noted that the recommended criteria for testing are: persons who have been in contact with a COVID positive patient or are associated with a cluster of persons of interest, those who have any of the four symptoms of fever, persistent cough, loss of sense of taste or smell and breathlessness; anyone facing surgery, as well as any other compelling reason.
Dr. Ehanire reminded everyone that COVID-19 is with us for the foreseeable future, as the DG of WHO has advised, with no definitive cure in sight. People are still being infected and are dying from it, hence the need for caution and adherence to COVID-19 preventive measures, guidelines and protocols as Nigeria reopens her economy as well as the resumption of schools in some areas in other to prevent a surge in cases. “I have directed all our hospitals to be alert and watch for unusual increase in number of persons reporting at our hospitals as emergency centre.”
Further reports at the briefing by the Minister revealed the commencement of distribution of oxygen concentrators and ventilators to various health institutions with training of about 176 intensive care specialists, and biomedical engineers, who will use or maintain them in the hospitals. The ventilators and training are courtesy of the United States government and shall complement what we have at our ICUs.
By Blessing Efem
Olujimi Oyetomi, Dir. Information, Media & Public Relations.