Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Minister for Health Dr Osagie Ehanire announced on Thursday announced that the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) is discussing options and guidelines of supervised out-of-hospital isolation and care with some states.
This comes against the backdrop of a rising number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria and the challenges of shortage of bed space at designated isolation centres.
The minister said the case could either be home-based care or based in communal space, like school dormitories since schools are presently closed.
Speaking at the daily press briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, in Abuja, the minister emphasised the need for sustained collaboration and support from all stakeholders to contain the spread of COVlD-l9 in Nigeria.
‘Just as we continue to engage states, we shall continue to engage community, religious and traditional leaders for sustained messaging and enlightenment to citizens, on the importance of adhering to health advisories, to combat community spread,’ the minister said.
‘I again emphasise that much at this stage depends on a trust-based partnership between government and the people to faithfully obey the rules on COVID-19 laid down for our own good, but additional support to States will be tailored to challenges and strengths of the state’s health systems.’
Meanwhile, the minister has reaffirmed the position of the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN), that no Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) kits were validated for COVID-19 testing.
He explained: ‘It’s important to advise that only four Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) kits have been evaluated by MLSCN and all four failed the validation tests. No antigen test kits have yet been evaluated.
‘This means that results obtained from these tests are not tenable for diagnostics, being deficient in sensitivity and specificity and are likely to give false results and mislead people.
‘The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) certified laboratories in Nigeria use the World Health Organization (WHO) recognized real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing methods which give reliable results. Though expensive, the option is right and we have 30 laboratories deployed, with the aim of establishing at least one laboratory in every state,’ Dr Ehanire said.