The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has stated that it is the plan of the Federal Ministry of Health to boost overall COVID-19 sample collection, by preparing all eligible public and private hospitals nationwide to become collection sites.
He disclosed this at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 Press Briefing held on Monday, he said that this will require working with State governments and the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) to identify the facilities and the space within them.
“To conduct training for the personnel selected and supply both PPE’s and sample collection kits, as well as the logistics to go around to recover test samples, and to 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 samples collection and delivery to test sites are better organized, a lot more will be achieved”, he said.
Speaking further, Dr. Ehanire disclosed that the current figure of tested samples in the country stands at 152.952 of which 28,711 are confirmed COVID-19 positive cases while 11,665 have been treated and discharged with 645 fatalities, majority of them have underlying illnesses.
Similarly,the Minister also revealed that a total no of 15,532 cases was confirmed from 74,580 with 303 death that was recorded was recorded for the month of June alone while appealed to citizens especially those that are COVID-19 positive who show no symptoms at all, not to go to treatment centers but to cooperate with health officials and understand that measures taken are protective and it is in the interest of the public.
He informed that a 17 man team of the Federal Ministry of Health, led by the Executive Director of National Primary Health Development Agency, left Abuja for Calabar to engage with the Cross River State government in setting up their COVID-19 response and aligning it with the national response.
According to the Minster, Agencies and different Departments of the Ministry of Health, such as NCDC, Hospital Services, and Family Health are well represented in the delegation to make sure that there is equal level playing ground between the Federal and State service delivery pillars and also to ensure that the disruption of routine medical services, which has been observed in the State, is minimized or eliminated in Cross River State. “We have called also called on the Cross River State National Medical Association (NMA), to suspend their strike action and receive the Ministry’s delegation.”
Dr. Ehanire hinted that His Excellency, Governor Ayeade has requested that a senior immigration officer is to map and study the border challenges with Cameroon, as well as a Port Health officer to assess risks posed by sea travelers arriving Cross Rivers State ports particular from neighboring Central African countries of Congo, Gabon, Cameroon, and Angola etc.
He informed that arrangements are under way to beef up security at the Federal Medical Center, Lokoja for protections 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.”
The Minister revealed that the Federal Government through the NCDC has launched an E-Learning platforms on Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) for health workers. He stated that Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) 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 particularly warn against unprofessional disposal of used PPE’s in common waste dumps, where scavengers have been seen to pick them up for risky reuse.” This is dangerous and sure pathway to promoting community transmission.” “All COVID-19 waste is to be incinerated”, he added.
The Minister also reminded Nigerians that testing for COVID-19 and treatment in government-run facility is totally free and urged them to report anyone who demanded payment, for necessary action.