A SPEECH OF THE HONOURABLE MINISTER OF HEALTH, DR. OSAGIE EHANIRE AT THE PRESIDENTIAL TASK FORCE ON COVID-19 PRESS BRIEFING ON TUESDAY 12TH MAY, 2020

A SPEECH OF THE HONOURABLE MINISTER OF HEALTH, DR. OSAGIE EHANIRE AT THE PRESIDENTIAL TASK FORCE ON COVID-19 PRESS BRIEFING ON TUESDAY 12TH MAY, 2020

Protocol.

As at this morning, 12th of May 2020, 242 new covid-19 cases were confirmed in Nigeria, giving a total of 4641 in 34 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, with unfortunately 150 fatalities recorded. 902 cases have happily been cured and discharged from care. The 242 new cases reported are from Lagos 88, Kano 64, Katsina 49, Kaduna 13, Ogun 9, Gombe 6, Adamawa 4, FCT 3, Ondo 1, Oyo 1, Zamfara 1, Borno 1, Bauchi 1, Rivers 1.

2.​ The Federal Ministry of Health is working with its agencies, other organs of Government and multinational organizations in continuous efforts to control transmission with tried, tested and innovative measures. The nature of this outbreak, as we have observed in other countries, is such that the sustainability of any strategy may be challenged as time goes on, by evolving realities at home and across the globe. We therefore encourage the organs of State maintaining vigilance at our borders, including our Port Health Services, to keep up the good work and not to tire or relent. The FMoH has been closely monitoring and reviewing the unfolding situation in some States, where covid19 appears to have gained ground. We had responded to the situation in Kano by dispatching a team of medical experts to provide technical support to the State Ministry of Health. I am happy to inform that the team has done well in their assignment and has reported a lot of success in helping to stabilize the State's Health system and assuage the disquiet among health workers, who are to restart routine service delivery. No new infections of health workers has been reported in recent times, as those who have recovered are awaiting certification to resume work. A FMoH delegation of experts is presently in Bauchi State on a fact finding mission to work with Bauchi State government and look into reports of unexplained deaths in Azare, Bauchi State. The similar missions to Katsina and Jigawa identified needs in those States, which include the need for a molecular laboratory in Katsina to reduce the backlog of pending tests and the turn-around time for results. This will be looked into. Other high burden areas or States grappling epidemic control issues will be offered similar support. In this connection, I must commend the ongoing initiative being developed by the Governors' Forum, to give each other mutual support, by rallying available human resource for Health volunteers from States, to support other States with high burden and manpower shortages. I am encouraged by my recent discussions with Their Excellencies the Governors of Lagos and Ekiti States in this respect

  1. The Federal Ministry of Health through the NCDC has printed the mandatory institutional quarantine guideline and NCDC CREW kit for returnees from diaspora.

4.​We continue to ramp up COVID19 testing capacity by adding 3 new molecular laboratories to our network: at Benin City and 2 in Port Harcourt, which brings the present total to 25. An Expert Advisory Committee will assist with an audit of our laboratory processes with a view to offering suggestions on strategies to reduce testing turn-around time an other user interest matters.

  1. ​The number of isolation centres and beds nationwide is increasing with the This-Day Dome, commissioned in Abuja today, and providing the most comprehensive panel of medical services for COVID-19, including lab testing ICU, and dialysis. It handed over to Federal Ministry of Health and the FCTA and signals a landmark in collaborations between public and private sectors to fight a common enemy.

6.​The Centre has: Wards and ICU Centre with Ventilators, X- Ray and Dialysis;
A 54gene Testing Mobile Lab complete with reagents - with scalable 200 - 1000 tests per day; A Hotel & Conference Centre next door for use by medical staff for 6 months; A CBN Medical Grant in direct support to FMoH and FCDA for day to day management of the Isolation Centre An industrial grade medical incinerator.

7.​The laboratory services in this centre is no doubt a great boost to our testing capacity in Abuja and with the treatment centre will enhance our capacity to handle confirmed positive cases. We shall make this facility operational in the coming days. I use this opportunity to again enjoin State Governors to continue to ensure they reach the isolation capacity target of 300 beds in every state of the Federation, while calling on Philanthropists to support their efforts, including expanding the capacity for tracing, testing isolation and treatment.

  1. ​I shall conclude by thanking all Nigerians for the sacrifices they have made and are still making in halting the spread of the virus. I enjoin all citizens to wear their masks when going out of their homes especially to the market and remember they can run across a crowd at any time.

10.​Thank you for your attention