Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 pandemic, has expressed concern that some states were not sustaining testing even though the country is currently expressing declining positivity rates every day.
Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, expressed this concern at Monday’s briefing of the PTF task force on COVID-19 pandemic.
According to him, “Seventy nine confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection were reported in the past 24 hours from 13 states of the Federation, bringing the total number of known cases as of today 14th September, 2020 to 56,256 out of a total of number of 442,075 tests conducted. 44,152 persons have been treated and discharged while 1,082 have sadly been lost to COVID-19.
“Though we continue to record declining positivity rates every day, we are reluctant to conclude that we are halting the spread of disease, because some states have not sustained the testing rate that would give us more assurance. Only 13 States, for example, reported their figures in the past 24 hours. This can be better. Until all parts of the country can sustain a certain testing rate, it would seem presumptuous to conclude that we are flattening the curve.
“In the words of Tedros Ghebreyesus, the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), we are not safe until everyone is safe. I therefore again request our state governments to ramp up the testing momentum, so that we can together get control of the spread of this disease in our country.”
The minister also joined in the appeal to the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) to suspend its nationwide strike.
Ehanire urged them to sheathe their sword and come to the negotiation table.
He said: “I use this opportunity to appeal to JOHESU to suspend their industrial action and go into negotiation.
“The position of the Ministry of Health is that strikes by healthcare workers jeopardise the lives of citizens, especially at such times of global health emergencies as now.
“Nigeria needs the service of all our health workers to control the spread of COVID-19. Issues around allowances are multi-sectoral and have always been saved with negotiations no matter how long it took,” he pleaded.
Recalled that JOHESU President, Dr. Biobelomoye Josiah, had asked the federal government to attend to its demands with the same seriousness is attached to those of the National Association of Resident Doctors.
The residents’ doctors, under NARD, also downed tools last week but called it off days after coming to an agreement with federal government representatives.
JOHESU, which is the umbrella body of health workers’ unions and associations in the country, said its demands merited such urgent attention, too.