Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal Government has warmed hospitals that it’s unethical to reject patients who come for treatment because of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Minister of Health. Dr Osagie Ehanire, Thursday gave the warning at the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
The minister said that the proportion of confirmed cases that are symptomatic compared to asymptomatic is 39 percent and 61 percent respectively.
According to him, what this means is is that out of 10 persons have contracted the virus, four of them will look very well, another three or four will have mild symptoms that can be trivialized, even by healthcare workers.
“We are constantly reviewing COVID-19 activities and developments at home and abroad, to learn as much as we can about the novel coronavirus disease. We have learned, for example, that patients are most infectious during the asymptomatic stage, and spread the virus even if they do not look or feel ill, or before their symptoms appear.
“We also learn that patients with no COVID-19 symptons may no longer be infectious after 14 days, even if PCR tests identify RNA evidence of virus in them.
Global experience is that up to 45 percent of infected people may have no symptoms at all,” Ehanire said.
The minister said that the cheapest and easiest way to protect oneself is with a mask; in this case, a cloth mask will do.
He said, “This is why the Federal Ministry of Health constantly urges citizens to adhere strictly to wearing a mask when outside their homes and observe other non-pharmaceutical measures, especially now that confirmed COVID-19 cases in Nigeria continues to rise, which gradually raises the risk.”
Ehanire on the number of infections said, “Although numbers are only creeping up compared to other countries and case fatality rate hovers around three percent, we are concerned and at high alert. We have no room for complacency or over-confidence, and need to be ready for any sudden shift in fortune.”
He said that the Federal Ministry of Health through NCDC has activated additional laboratories in Akwa Ibom, Jigawa and Oyo states bringing the total number of laboratories in the network to 33.
He said that more are being prepared as government work towards a target of at least one molecular laboratory per state, while optimization of laboratories is ongoing in other states.
He added, “We have commenced planning for targeted community sensitization activities in 20 high burden Local Government Areas and workshop in Infection Prevention and Control on COVID-19 for healthcare workers of Public and Private Hospitals in the FCT.
“The Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Federal Ministry of Health and the Speaker of the House of Representatives have been engaging the National Association of Resident Doctors “NARD” to address issues raised by the young doctors. We also had conversation with Ministry of Finance Agencies and health related associations, which addressed issues of welfare and allowances to frontline health workers.
“Complaints on availability of PPE’s have been addressed with the supply of materials to states, and separately to Federal Medical Centers,” he added.
Ehanire also said that the disengaged resident doctors at University of Jos Teaching hospital were recalled by the Board of Governors and expressed confidence that resident doctors will show understanding and reciprocate government’s efforts on the assurance that grievances shall be addressed.
The Director General of National Center for NCDC DG, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, on his part said Nigeria can achieved 10,000 test samples daily with the cooperation of state governments. He said currently, the center was doing about 2, 000 tests daily.
He said: “We can test about 10,000 samples daily. We are challenging states to bring samples for testing.
According to him the labs are working at about 20 percent capacity, adding that, states with the most number of cases are struggling to keep up.
Ihekweazu disclosed that vetween last week and now, the NCDC has distributed many Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs) to last hospitals for a month.