Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, yesterday, punctured claims by orthodox and traditional medicine practitioners that they had found cures for the pandemic coronavirus.
He said some people had claimed they had herbs and local cures, but the efficacy of medicine needed to be proved before government could recommend it for people to take.
Among those who said they are working on drugs that could cure the pandemic was Prof. Maurice Iwu, professor of pharmacognosy.
The minister, a member of the Presidential Task Force on COVID 19, who spoke yesterday in Lagos during a press briefing, said there was need for Nigerians to know much about the virus before coming up with any ‘cure.’
“Looking into all these assertions, some say they have herbs, some have concoctions. For those who are serious, we have a department in the ministry, the Department of Traditional Complementary and Alternative Medicine, which will look into the case, and the efficacy and effectiveness of the medicine has to be proven before it can be recommended for people to take. So, this traditional medicines are subject to study,’’ he said.
Ehanire said though chloroquine had been found in some tests to work in a test-tube to treat the disease, it was not yet clear if it would work as well inside the body.
Lagos begins fumigation of Alausa Secretariat, others
In its efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus, the Lagos State government, yesterday, commenced the fumigation of offices within the secretariat in Alausa, Ikeja.
Daily Sun gathered that the exercise took place simultaneously in all the 57 council areas in the state.
The fumigation took place at the Ministries of Commerce, Industry and Cooperative, Transportation, Home Affairs, and the Bagauda Kalto Press Centre, among others.
Officials of the Ministry of Local Government and Community Affairs, led by Amos Joseph, Rachel Oluwafunmilayo Anifowose and Mr. William, directed the fumigation.
Joseph told journalists that his team was ordered to commence the fumigation of government offices and the secretariat.
Meanwhile, the state government has unveiled plans to begin the second round of its food stimulus intervention to the aged and vulnerable in the state.
Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Gbolahan Lawal, stated this, yesterday, while reviewing the activities of the committee on COVID-19 Emergency Food Response.
Lawal said there was the need to commence the second round of distribution, following the conclusion of the first round response packages in 20 local government areas and 37 local council development areas of the state. He said more than 100,000 households benefitted in the first round of the distribution.
The commissioner explained that the targeted audience to be reached during the next round would be people living with disabilities and the elderly who had earlier received SMS from the Lagos State Residents Registration Agency (LASRRA).
He said vulnerable people within certain catchment communities and in the informal sector would also be included in the second round of food distribution.
Lawal explained that the state government had re-strategised on its method of distribution in order to reach the targeted people and yield the needed result. He also said the change in strategy was necessitated by the lessons learnt during the first round of distribution, as many jobs were created directly and indirectly in the process of distributing the stimulus packages.
He noted that 100 trucks were utilised and many youths and women were engaged in the areas of packaging and loading during the exercise.
According to the commissioner, the stimulus package was not for everybody within the community but, rather, for the aged, the indigent and the most vulnerable.
“What the government has done is to provide a palliative for the most vulnerable households. It is just a relief and not a substitute for loss of income. The government is not punishing people by asking them to stay at home but staying at home is a necessity. It is in our long-term interest to be able to live and keep hope alive.
“The whole world is on lockdown. While our government will not claim absolute perfection in the distribution of the palliatives, we are still able to reach a large number of the targeted group. We are, therefore, improving on our strategy,” Lawal said.
The commissioner disclosed that civil society organisations, volunteer groups and personalities, artistes, and NGOs would be involved during the next phase of the exercise with a view to providing their competence and expertise towards improving the intervention.
“The Lagos State Traffic Management Authority and the Neighbourhood Safety Corps would also be effectively deployed. The Nigeria Police have already assured the state government of their support particularly for the security of people that would be involved in the distribution network during the next phase. It is important to note that coronavirus came as a shock to everyone; it is unprecedented and no government has a budget for the huge expenses that came with the pandemic, which includes this palliatives project. The expenses on this project are extra-budgetary.
“We understand that the government cannot make these food packs available to all residents of the state, which is why we decided that the initiative is for the aged, less privileged, people living with disabilities, vulnerable and daily income earners who would not be able to feed without their jobs,” he said.
Lawal appealed to members of the public to remain calm and allow the new strategies and measures put in place to work, adding that everything would be done to deliver the packages to the categories of households concerned. He commended all the private organisations and NGOs that have contributed to support the initiative.
The state government had on March 27, 2020, unveiled a stimulus targeted at the aged, the indigent and the most vulnerable, using the 4,000 registered in the CDAs, NGOs and religious bodies in each locality of distribution.
The stimulus, which comes in food packs, was distributed to the targeted people in all the LGAs in order to cushion the effects of the stay-at-home directive by government to halt the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state and other parts of the country.