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COVID-19: 60 PCR Public Health Laboratory now active in Nigeria – FG

By Oluwaseun Sonde

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The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire has said that 60 PCR Public Health laboratories are now active in Nigeria, which together should be in a position to address testing capacity challenges and ramp up utilization if only the logistics could be improved, which would along with sheer community spread be responsible for the rising trajectory of COVID-19.

The Minister made this known at the Press Conference on COVID-19 in Abuja on Monday, he said Nigeria has crossed the quarter million mark, but when the epidemic curve will begin to flatten is still a matter of conjecture, given the relatively small fraction of the population that has been tested so far.

According to him, “70 to 30 male to female gender ratio and the case fatality rate of 2.1% have not changed significantly. Two thirds of all fatalities remain in the over 50 year age group, while comorbidities like diabetes, hypertension, asthma, etc, are common among all fatalities.

“They underscore the need to protect senior citizens and the vulnerable from infection, by giving special attention to risk communication and priority for admission for observation and treatment. Of utmost concern are still the asymptomatic cases, with the potential to spread the disease, of whom the young and able bodied can be difficult to manage”.

He added that Government will continue to strive to improve the quality of services in the hospitals as more persons are admitted to treatment, not only for covid-19 infection, but also for routine and essential care. It is also our desire to reduce the fatality rates, and expand our treatment capacity such that our Health System is not overwhelmed.

“In this regard, the FMoH expects to take delivery of the newly completed Isolation Center at UATH Gwagwalada, as other centers are under construction nationwide. The UN System in Nigeria informed us of the arrival of another consignment of essential COVID-19 related commodities yesterday, to be officially handed over to us”, he said.

He noted that Federal Government remain appreciative of the UN System for this gesture and their consistent support, which greatly increases the reserves and recognizes the needs, especially of oxygen concentrators and PPEs.

“Also reassures our frontline health workers that we are well stocked and can ensure availability of essential items and consumables at point of use. I use this opportunity to formally introduce the Country Representative of the World Health Organization Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo, who assumed duty here with us in Abuja some days ago, and wish him successful tenure, despite the challenging times”.

As Salah approaches, he wished all our Muslim brethren a happy celebration and enjoined all persons not to forget prescribed precautions and to reduce risk of transmission even as they celebrate.

“Wear your face mask at all times, especially when out of your homes; wash hands regularly; use sanitizers, practice distancing, I again remind everyone that controlling the spread of covid19 is not the responsibility of government alone, but of us all, individually and collectively”, he said


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