…Enforcement , Policing Not Necessary,
… Unhealthy Surgical Masks Disposal Can Add To The Risks Of Contracting Covid-19
TOYIN ADEBAYO, ABUJA
Compliance to the public health advisories should be taken as a civic duty and obligation for every citizen, where each should be responsible for the other. As such, enforcement or policing should not be necessary, for what is meant to preserve life and health,The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has said .
He, however called for considerate attitude and social adjustment to the challenges we face at this moment.
The minister made this disclosure at the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, on Friday in Abuja, while reiterating the importance of adhering to public health advisories (wearing our face masks, observing social distancing, practicing hand washing or sanitizing, standard respiratory hygiene, avoiding crowds and all non-essential travel).
According to him, ” 193 new covid-19 cases were confirmed in the past day in 15 states- Lagos(58), Kano(46), Jigawa(35), Yobe (12), FCT(9), Ogun(7), Plateau(5), Gombe(5) Imo(4), Edo(3), Kwara(3), Borno(3), Bauchi (1), Nasarawa (1), Ondo(1), bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Nigeria over the 5,000 line to 5,162 in 34 States and the FCT. Till date, 1180 patients have been treated and discharged from hospital care and 167 deaths have sadly been recorded. The case gender ratio remains about 70 to 30 percent for men and women respectively, while case fatality hovers around 3%.
He further stated that, a steady rise in these figures is what we envisage with more diligent testing, treatment, Isolation and tracing. Ability and capacity to keep up and align these activities with each other will determine the course of events as time goes on.
We implore States and partners not to relent, but to keep up with the pace, which, in some States will increase well before it begins to decrease. Adherence to advisory against interstate travel and compliance with other simple measures like use of masks and avoiding crowds will significantly mitigate the burden, the minister added.
Ehanire said that a strategy document of National Primary Healthcare development Agency is being developed and repurposed for application to Kano; but also to similar high density, high burden metropoles like Lagos to respond more specifically to the challenges of COVID-19 tracing, tracking, testing, Isolation and treatment in congested communities. If implemented it could go a long way in addressing many challenges looming before us.
Speaking on the issue in Kano , he said the situation has largely stabilized, thanks to the good relationship between the visiting Federal task team and Kano State Task force on COVID-19, one manifestation of this being the high number of new cases recorded daily from the fact that all labs in Kano are now functioning and clearing the sample backlog, with over 350 tests done daily. The State government has been doing well in opening up more treatment and Isolation centers.
Accordibg to him, “an innovation of the FMoH Kano task team is the Training of journalists to take place tomorrow, the aim of which is to ensure reporters are in a better position to interpret covid-19 related data and information and also learn to take necessary infection prevention measures. I shall use this opportunity to thank His Excellency, the Governor of Kano State for providing the necessary support for the Federal team to function.
“A Federal Ministry of Health team has been assembled to proceed to Sokoto and Bornu on fact finding and support missions; to engage with State authorities and determine material and technical needs. A most immediate probability is the prioritization of these States for the deployment of repurposed Gene Xpert machines as soon as we start receiving the cartridges in a few weeks to bring speed to testing.
“As mentioned earlier part of the mission in Kano is to assist State pathologists and scientists to unravel the mysteries around unexplained deaths in some States. The tools for forensic investigation have been jointly developed for a uniform approach and balanced results.
“We were able to persuade Mrs Susan Idoko-Okpe, now popularly known as the Benue Lady, to allow a test sample to be taken to our laboratory for testing yesterday; the result is being awaited any time now and it will be given to her in person. Please note that, while a patient may disclose their result by themselves, the FMoH cannot do so, except with the permission of the one concerned.
“The annual World Health Assembly, held every year in Geneva, shall begin on Monday 17th May, and hold this year for the first time by teleconference. I shall be leading the Nigerian team to the virtual meeting, the focus of which is expected to be the global spread and response to COVID-19, requirin individual and collective effort”, he buttressed.
Collaborating the Minister’s point on the compliance to the public health advisories with compulsion, the Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu said behaviour should not be regulated by enforcement.
While adding that, “We don’t require another Government intervention that has been imposed onto us. It is important for us to survive, to keep our families safe, friends alive, people that we care for and ourselves it is something we need to do for ourselves and to do it for ourselves means we don’t need any suppervision to wear masks, we don’t need the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force, you don’t need the policeman stopping you on the road to insist that you wear a mask.
“In many states we have been hearing of taxi drivers who give people masks to wear when they entered their cars so that the Police doesn’t stop them. This completely defeat the purpose of this measures. We must remember that these are life saving measures that we need to carry out for ourselves.
“If you are wearing a disposable surgical masks, it is important that we think about disposal, there are many ways to do this safely, you buy a polythene bag out them inside , tie them and out in the waste, this will help keep them from people picking masks to sell, this can also add to the risk that we all face”, he added