By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja
The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Friday said that a multi-sectoral technical team including medical experts have been dispatched to Jigawa State on a fact-finding mission over unusual deaths and deportation of Almajiris, many of whom have tested positive to the virus.
Recall that barely a week, more than 100 people died mysteriously in the Hadejia area of Jigawa State, which raised serious concerns.
The state government had set up a five-man committee to investigate the cause of the deaths in the area.
Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, however, said the team, which included doctors and nurses, was at the request of the state Governor, Abubakar Badaru to support the State in finding a solution to the health crisis being faced.
Ehanire said that the ministry of health would assist the state in setting up and accrediting the state’s Isolation and treatment centres, adding that the team was also expected to look into the reported cases of unusual deaths in which occurred some days ago.
Meanwhile, the Minister responded to question on the non-compliance with Federal Government guidelines on testing for COVID-19 in Kogi State, saying that the Ministry of Health team sent to Kogi State has returned to Abuja, without accomplishing its mission.
The minister said: ”New efforts will be made to engage Kogi authorities for resolution of differences. A team will visit Bornu State for the same purpose in due course. State Commissioners of Health will be engaged on a continuous basis to monitor readiness and preparedness, and address matters arising.”
Ehanire explained that with the increasing figures, the nation was approaching a difficult era in COVID-19 response, and which all citizens can still influence by adhering more strictly to all the safety, infection prevention and non-pharmaceutical injunctions that have been repeatedly given.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic increases and progresses to community transmission level in Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Health and other organs of government are continuously seeking measures to check or break transmission and so control the spread, with tried, tested and also innovative measures and guidelines.
“Our ideal is still to identify all positive cases and isolate both the symptomatic and asymptomatic, to safeguard the health of the rest of the population as well as provide care to the symptomatic.
“This includes our efforts at intensively building the expertise of critical care doctors and nurses, to utilize ventilators and other appliances being allocated to Intensivecare hospitals, nationwide. The sustainability of the strategy may be challenged as time goes on by the evolving realities across the country,” Ehanire said.
Also, the Director General, Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu said: ”We can only offer help where the help is wanted. Let me say we’ve had a wonderful relationship with Kogi, it’s one of the first states where we set up an EOC; we gave State Epidemiologist a vehicle over a year ago; the Commissioner for Health is a personal friend. We have planned for two million test kits over the next few months, and the procurement process has already started, not just by Nigerian government but also by our international partners.”