Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has given a hint that as the battle against coronavirus spreads to local communities, school premises will be used as isolation centres.
Briefing newsmen today, June 4 in Abuja, Dr. Ehanire said that support to States will be tailored to challenges and strengths of State health systems.
“The National Primary Healthcare Development Agency is discussing options and guidelines of supervised out-of-hospital isolation and care with some States, which is either home-based care or based in communal space, like school dormitories, since schools are presently closed down.”
The minister, who said that Nigeria, as at today, has a total of 11,166 confirmed coronavirus cases in 35 States and FCT, said that 3,329 have been treated successfully and discharged, with 315 deaths.
He said that the daily epidemic curve of confirmed cases shows a consistently rising trajectory with corresponding increase in fatalities, but that nothing comparable with what is observed in some foreign countries. “To rest on our oars for that reason, would be a serious mistake. Covid is real and we have explained that the increase in cases is due to improving testing capacity and of activities of other response pillars, such as surveillance, community mobilization, coordination, contact tracing improved awareness, demographics and other factors.
“The team deployed to Lagos and Ogun States, led by the ED of NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal, has returned, with optimism about having gained a better insight into state-specific challenges and gaps. They had audience with the Executive Governors, visited the State EOCs and exchanged ideas with the State Health teams. A full report of findings will be ready next week.
“The Federal Ministry of Health team to Kano, Sokoto, Jigawa Bornu, Katsina, Gombe will submit their final report tomorrow. Preliminary reports show that the goals of the intervention were met.
Dr. Ehanire said that his team would continue to engage States, community, religious and traditional leaders for sustained messaging to citizens, on the importance of adhering to health advisories, to combat community spread.
He emphasized that at this stage, the fight against the spread depends on a trust-based partnership between government and the people, to faithfully obey the rules on coronavirus laid down.
“As we continue to engage states on scaling up sample collection and testing capacity all over Nigeria, we also continue to urge healthcare workers to ensure they are properly protected with the appropriate PPE’s and have a high index of suspicion when treating patients.
“To comment on various test lists said to be in use in Nigeria, especially antibody-based test kits, it is important to advise that only four of the kits have been evaluated by the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria and all four failed the validation tests. No antigen test kits has yet been evaluated. This means that results obtained from these tests are not tenable for diagnostics, being deficient in sensitivity and specificity and are likely to give false results and mislead people. The NCDC certified laboratories in Nigeria use WHO recognized PCR testing methods which give reliable result. Though expensive, this option is right and we have 30 laboratories deployed, with the aim of establishing at least one laboratory in every state.”