The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire has said that government is working with the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), to finalize plans on engagement of existing community volunteers and agents to conduct house to house sensitization on COVID-19 at community level, especially in high burden Local Government areas of Nigeria.
Speaking at the Press Conference on Covid-19 in Abuja on Tuesday, he said a team from the FMoH, led by the ED of NPHCDA and comprising doctors from Departments of Family Health, Hospital Services and Public Health and NCDC, is in Lagos on an appraisal visit, during which a situation analysis will be conducted.
“The team will also visit the contiguous Ogun State on the same mission. The visits are in continuation of similar useful initiatives in the past to Kano, Katsina Sokoto, Jigawa, Gombe, and Borno, to share experience and ideas, align strategy and support each other.
“We continue to advocate for states to strengthen their response activities and have begun a program to strengthen the capacity of all Federal Health Institutions in Nigeria to deal with COVID-19 challenges in their States by additional training, supplies and equipment”, he said.
He added that Federal Medical Center Lokoja and University of Calabar Teaching Hospital will be prioritized for deployment of Gene Xpert machines as soon as the test kits are validated by the Medical Laboratory Science Council, so that citizens in Kogi and Cross River State, among others, will no longer have shortage of opportunity to be tested.
“Our observation is that states are at varying levels of readiness and it is important to re-strategize to meet all citizens at their points of need. COVID-19 is long since a global phenomenon affecting nearly all parts of the world. All nations are working together and I urge all State authorities in Nigeria to accept the reality and also work with each other and Federal Government, and play their part in the strategy to keep the people safe”, he said.
He noted that Nigeria currently has a total of 10,578 confirmed COVID-19 cases in 35 States and FCT, of which 3,122 have been treated successfully and discharged, while sadly recorded 299 deaths as at this report was filed. “There COVID-19 burden is, as we know not evenly distributed within the country, with Kano and Lagos bearing the highest burden.
“As the President has advised, it is best to be fully prepared even if you do not have to use it. In this regard, the Federal Ministry of Health stands ready to support all States in their efforts to build resilient and responsive systems for citizens in their States. The FCT, for example, is no longer under bed space pressure, having been well supported with assets to meet all levels of care, security and needs”, he said.