Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Federal Government said it had started reaching out to traditional leaders from the northern part of the country to help sensitise the their people on the urgent need to comply with health advisories on COVID-19.
While speaking at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 press briefing on Wednesday, Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said he had taken part in a teleconference with northern traditional leaders committee organised by National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) in a bid to get them to help sensitise their subjects on how to curtail the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have also continued to train and retrain our healthcare workers as well as provide them with the necessary personal protective equipment. Community mobilizers have been deployed at the grassroots to continue to sensitise our people through the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency. I participated earlier this week in a teleconference of Northern Traditional Leaders Committee organized by NPHCDA, in which the need for urgent engagement of all traditional, religious and community gatekeepers was emphasised and agreed on,” he said.
Ehanire said that federal government was encouraging and supporting states to increase the number of isolation centres nationwide,
He said that government was extremely grateful to corporate organisations and philanthropists who had donated Isolation facilities, diagnostic equipment, commodities and sundry supplies relevant to government’s response efforts to COVID-19 threat.
The minister said, “One example is the THISDAY Dome, which has been purposed by donors, to be a 320-bed Isolation Center with a 10 bed ICU, which is to be commissioned next week to significantly ease the supply of bed spaces”.
With regard to Kano, Ehanire said that progress had been made in collaborative efforts with the state epidemiologists to restore routine medical services to hospitals and further drive the ongoing investigations.
According to the minister, organised ambulance service is already in operation bringing relief to citizens who need to access emergency medical services, especially in view of restrictions of movement.
He further said that the federal ministry of health was sending supporting teams to Sokoto and Katsina for training and capacity building in case management, infection prevention and control in the hospital setting while other states will follow shortly.
On the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Nigeria, the minister said that it had continued to rise not unexpectedly, in view of prevailing circumstances in certain states.
“As at 11.00pm 5th of May, 148 persons had tested positive, bringing the total to 2,950 confirmed to have COVID-19 in 34 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
“481 persons have been discharged and 98 COVID-19 related fatalities have sadly been recorded. The 148 new cases were reported in 17 states as follows: 43 in Lagos, 32 in Kano, Katsina (9), FCT (10), Zamfara (14), Taraba (7), Borno (7), Ogun (6), Oyo (5), Bauchi (3), Edo (3), Kaduna (3), Adamawa (2), Gombe (2), Plateau (2), Sokoto (1), Kebbi (1),” he said.
The minister said that the continued rise in the number of cases is clearly an evidence that the country was now in community transmission phase.
He said that the remedy now depends on individual and collective behaviour and the urgency of behavior change communication becomes apparent.
“Knowledge so far gathered about COVID-19 needs to be converted into practice, because our safety, now more than ever, depends on all of us.
“We are to adhere to public health advisories (wearing our face masks, observing social distancing, practicing hand washing or sanitising, standard respiratory hygiene, avoiding crowded places and all manner of non-essential travel, as well as reporting when we feel unwell, or someone close to us has symptoms of infection,” he said.