TOYIN ADEBAYO, ABUJA
The Federal Government said strigent measures are in place to mitigate the fatality rate from COVID-19 even as new confirmed cases increases.
Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire made this known at the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 daily briefing on Thursday in Abuja, saying, the increasing number of cases should be a warning that fatalities will increase too; but there are measures we can take, to limit case fatality rate.
He satated that, since majority of fatalities are over 50 years of age, or have preexisting ailments like diabetes, cancer, hypertension, kidney disease, HIV, etc, this group of citizens has to be specially protected.
According to him; ‘This protection begins with limiting their exposure to risks of Covid-19 infection by urging stay at home, except there is urgent and dire need to go out.
“To wear a face mask or a covering at any time, once outside the house, or when inside the house with persons who may have been exposed.
“To observe all other non pharmaceutical advisory, like frequent hand washing, social distancing, respiratory hygiene, sanitizer use among many others”.
Ehanire also emphasized that going to places where there can be a crowd, like market or also places of worship carries risk of increased exposure. While stressing that being in a closed room increases the risk of exposure to infection in proportion to the number of people and the length of time spent with them, because the likelihood of presence of a positive person increases with the number and infection with time of exposure.
The minister buttresed that, all persons in the vulnerable group who test positive should go to a treatment center immediately, in their own best interest. A vulnerable person is not among those who should risk staying at home, because complications can arise easily and suddenly or at an odd hour of the day or night when there will be no immediate help available.
Ehanire added that, any person who tested positive and opted to stay home or elsewhere should move to a treatment center at the first sign of fever or shortness or breath. A delay can be fatal because the disease progression can be unpredictable and faster than imagined.
He said that , with these important measures, we could mitigate the fatality rate. The novel coronavirus is still among us and is infecting people daily, including prominent members of the society. Friends and family have an increasingly important role to play in helping to guide compliance with this advisory. Till it goes away, whenever that is, we must take extreme precaution when going to public places.
He stated that , the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) yesterday announced 587 new confirmed covid-19 cases, increasing the total tally to 17,735. We have treated and discharged 5,967 persons and 469 persons have sadly been lost to the disease.
According to him, “I also had the honour yesterday, of joining Mr. President at the China-Africa Extraordinary Summit on Solidarity Against the COVID-19 pandemic, where the desirability of sharing knowledge from research and experience was emphasized, as PTF Chair has reported. This is of value to us because China has considerable experience with covid19.
“Earlier yesterday, I signed a bilateral agreement with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on cooperation in the area of public health and medical sciences. The agreement is to start cooperation between both countries in these areas: Exchanging experience in public health and health sciences; and Facilitation of visits by scientists and Exchanging information in research.
“On Monday, 15th June, 2020, I inaugurated the governing council of the Pharmacist Council of Nigeria, where the Council was charged to refocus aspects of the profession to meet up with the realities of today as the Covid-19 Pandemic has brought medicine security to the fore front”, he further stated.
The Minister , however, updated the case management guidelines with reviewed changes like discharge criteria and medication used for the treatment of cases. Our treatment centers will be getting an advisory to test applicability of a drug recently repurposed and found effective for treatment of COVID-19
The engagement of States and support for them in management of covid19 will continue to increase with increased capacity building. The Ministry of Health will also be prioritizing the procurement of oxygen generators alongside ventilators as our experience so far shows that oxygen supplementation is in high demand in treatment, he stated.