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Ehanire Warns Health Workers Against Unprofessional Disposal Of Used PPEs

Says, Public , Private Hospitals Nationwide To Become Collection Sites.


Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has warned health workers against unprofessional disposal of used Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs) in common waste dumps, where scavengers have been seen to pick them up for risky reuse.

He said this is dangerous and a sure pathway to promoting community transmission. Adding that all COVID-19 waste is to be Incinerated.

Ehanire gave this warning on Monday at the Presidential Task Force press briefing on Covid-19, in Abuja.

While adding that, the Ministry of Health planned to boost overall COVID-19 sample collection, by preparing all eligible public and private hospitals nationwide to become collection sites.

According to him, “This will require working with State governments and NPHCDA to identify the facilities and the space within them, to conduct training for the personnel selected and supply both PPEs and sample collection kits, as well as the logistics to go around to recover test samples, and so better utilize available laboratory assets in the country, which even now are capable of handling far more cases than they presently do. If logistics around sample collection and delivery to test sites are better organized, a lot more will be achieved. However, the more we test, the more confirmed cases we shall find, of which the vulnerable will have to be prioritized for admission to treatment centers, even if they are not yet showing symptoms. States will be encouraged to use all opportunities to isolate other asymptomatic cases who may not qualify for supervised self Isolation, for the period they are deemed to be infectious or are at risk of infecting the vulnerable. It will also mean scaling up treatment and Isolation centers in states and the logistics for managing them.

“As of today 6th of July 2020, Nigeria has recorded a total of 28,711 confirmed COVID-19 cases, out of 152,952 tests conducted, of which 11,665 have been treated successfully and discharged. We have regrettably recorded 645 fatalities.

“Taking the statistics of the month of June alone, a total of 15,532 cases were confirmed from 74,580 tests, with 303 deaths on record. This means that just under half of the total fatalities so far recorded, occurred in the single month of June; while we more than doubled the tests done and the number of cases detected. The reduction in case fatality rate is down to about 2.2%, in line with our plan, going forward. But it also draws our attention to the speed with which COVID-19 is growing, the time it took to double itself, and the reminder that we need to improve on our responses, to continue to strive for the best and prepare for worse”, he said.

Speaking on the petitions and reports available to him, Ehanire appealed to citizens, especially those Covid-19 positive who feel no symptoms at all, not to take invitation to treatment centers as persecution, but to cooperate with health officials and understand that measures taken are protective and in the interest of all of us.

He further stated that, a strong 17 man team of the Federal Ministry of Health, led by the Executive Director of National Primary Health Development Agency, left Abuja for Calabar this morning to engage with the Cross River State government in setting up their covid19 response and aligning it with the national response. Agencies and many departments of the Ministry of Health, like NCDC, Hospital Services, Family Health, are represented in the delegation, to ensure the appropriate technical handshake between Federal and State service delivery pillars and also ensure that the disruption of routine medical services, which has been observed in many States, is minimized or eliminated in CRS. We have also called on the CRS NMA to suspend their strike action and receive the Ministry’s delegation. At the request of His Excellency the Governor of CRS, a senior Immigration officer is on Board to study the border challenges with Cameroon, as well as a Port Health officer to assess risks posed by sea travelers arriving CRS ports particularly from neighboring Central African countries of Congo, Gabon, Cameroon Angola etc. CRS is known to be a producer of various PPEs, including masks, for which the Governor wants SON endorsement, to have access to patronage.

With regard to Kogi, he hinted that, arrangements are under way to beef up security at FMC Medical Center Lokoja for protection of staff and patients. The Federal government will do all it can to attend to the needs of the citizens, while we seek ways to engage the State authorities.

Ehanire stated that the unfortunate figures on COVID-19 we see in other countries every day are sobering and must instruct us, that it is not the way we want to go. To protect ourselves more, I must advise citizens again that it is not enough to ask “what is government doing”? The question now is also, “what are you doing”? Whether as communities, associations or individuals, we are all in this together. It is not the Federal Government alone. This novel virus is highly contagious and if we do not cooperate and sacrifice, if we refuse to get treatment and decide to infect others, we could be responsible for some cases leading to death.

He added that, the Federal Government through the NCDC has launched an E-Learning platform on Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) for healthcare workers. We urge them to utilize it, but shall also refocus on training states with high health workers infection. Infection rates in our treatment centres have however reduced overall. PPEs have been distributed to health facilities in good numbers and the use is being monitored to reduce wastage. I urge our health workers to ensure appropriate use. I also remind everyone that Covid19 treatment facilities not accredited by the responsible State or FCT accreditation committee are illegal and risky.

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