By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire has said that the Federal Government has established 11 functional laboratories for COVID-19 across the country.
The Minister said that the country has pre-positioned laboratory testing sample and collection kits nationwide.
Speaking during the ministerial briefing on COVID-19 on Monday in Abuja, Ehanire said that the Federal Ministry of Health through the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) will continue to support response activities in States with new outbreaks, through timely deployment of Rapid Response teams.
As of Monday, April 12, a total of 323 COVID-19 cases had been confirmed, 85 patients discharged home and 10 deaths recorded, the minister disclosed.
He added that the 5 new cases were reported from three states- Lagos (2), Kwara (2), Katsina (1).
The Minister warned medical doctors that ”it is very risky to be treating coronavirus patients in private homes or in their hospital establishments without IPC training and accreditation. ”
”The hazard is serious with regard to self infection and cross infection, evidence of which has manifested in some States.
According to him, the Accreditation team has finalised protocols for use in accrediting Isolation and treatment centres, to assure maintenance of standards.
”We now have 11 covid-19 functional laboratories in Nigeria, following 2 activated in Kano and Jos, ” he said.
The health minister explained that four centers have been accredited in the Abuja metropolis, ”which I inspected over the weekend and certified as ready to use.”
Ehanire said, ”The Case management team has concluded training of healthcare workers in Abuja who will be attending to patients in these isolation and treatment centres. ”
He enjoined all the states of the federation to adhere to the standards advised by the accreditation team.
”The Federal Ministry of Health began a comprehensive review of the Health sector COVID-19 response this morning, in order to build a new robust strategic Action Plan and structure that addresses expected challenges of the imminent community transmission phase. The outcomes will be made public in a few days.
”The PTF is working on compensation packages to recognize the sacrifices and to further motivate the brave healthcare workers, who directly take on the coronavirus challenge.
”It goes beyond the well-known Group Life Insurance for public servants, the routine workmen’s compensation and health workers hazard allowance. Details of the new package will be made available later, but we must laud the Life insurance offer free for 5,000 health workers, donated by a private Insurance Company.”
He appealed to all citizens for understanding and adherence to proven public health advisory at this critical time in the nation’s history.
”Images emanating nowadays from some countries in Europe and America tell the story of what we are desperate to avoid. More perseverance and sacrifice is being required of nearly all persons living where the virus has struck, including us, ” he urged.
”Compared to many of these countries, we have not done too badly in the coronavirus landscape, but to build on the gains, we must endure inconvenience and make a sacrifice for a while. The benefits are well worth it. I therefore call on all citizens to endeavor to observe the stay at home, in order to reduce transmission of the virus that happens, when one person, unknowingly carrying the virus travels from one place to another and drops the virus.
The stay at home also allows NCDC better opportunity and time to trace and find persons of interest at home, for significant scale up of testing.”
He further warned that COVID-19 will often not show any symptoms in some persons, while they may be highly infectious to others.
However, he said, the government has made arrangements for all levels of Isolation facilities, including such as meet any security and privacy requirements.