Elites who test positive to COVID-19 but refuse to get treatment at Isolation Centres are increasing fatality figures – Dr. Ehanire

Dr. Osagie Ehanire
The Hon. Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire

The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has expressed concern over the increasing number of avoidable deaths from COVID-19 due to the attitude or carelessness of the elites who chose to receive home care when tested positive, rather than seek medical attention at Government Isolation Centres where they are well catered for, by team of experts at such centres.

According to Dr. Osagie Ehanire, the statistics of COVID-19 fatalities can be “linked with preexisting diseases” and those who are positive “are educated, well-to-do people, who chose home-based care, where they develop sudden complication and have to be rushed to hospital.”

The Honourable Minister gave this revelation at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 Press Briefing on Tuesday, 19th May, 2020. 

He disclosed that as at 18th May, 2020, a total of 216 new covid-19 cases had been recorded in Nigeria, the breakdown being as follows: Lagos(74), Katsina(33), Oyo(19), Kano (17), Edo(13), Zamfara(10), Ogun(8), Gombe(8)  Borno(8), Bauchi(7), Kwara(7), FCT(4), Kaduna (3), Enugu (3) and Rivers(2), bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Nigeria to 6,175.  The Honourable Minister added that the numbers of patients who have been treated and discharged from care is 1,644, with 191 deaths were recorded in 26 states and the FCT.

Dr. Ehanire also expressed the observation that “breathing complications in COVID-19 patients can arise with little or no notice”, saying “this is an added reason why all persons should seek medical attention when they test positive.”

The Minister further stated that Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) has been working with the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) to strengthen the response activities of the Federal Government in order to improve on the isolation Centres across the country so as to continue to provide diagnostic commodities and facilities; with Yenagoa and Oshogbo being the most recent addition.

Dr. Ehanire further disclosed that the Ministerial Task Team that was deployed to Cross River State have arrived the State and are working closely with relevant State Authorities to review and evaluate present status and needs of the State while the Team to Kano reported improvements in the processes and indices of Kano, and also of strategies to control increasing cases of covid-19 infection in the entire region, by ramping up testing, isolation and case management capabilities. The Kano team also paid a fact finding visit to Borno State where they made recommendations on supporting the strategy as well as providing hands-on training and confidence building of Health care workers.

The Minister reiterated Federal Government’s commitment to maintaining  essential services in both private and public hospitals throughout the country, “because of the serious harm that arises from neglecting routine healthcare Services like Reproductive, Maternal Newborn and Child Health (RMNCH), immunization, chronic disease management, all due to fear of COVID-19 or sole focus on COVID-19, hence the inclusion of officials of National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and Department of Family Health whose assignments are to Press for restoration of normal medical services, in the mission to States.

Speaking on standard risk prevention protocols, the Minister in his usual manner reiterated correctness in the use of masks:  “I urge abiding by the mandatory and correct use of masks by all of us, each for the protection of the other. Masks must be worn and washed daily, ironed, where possible. Masks should cover mouth and nose and should not be left under the chin during close quarter conversation, lest its purpose is defeated. New understanding is that droplet dispersal takes place even during normal speech and common use of masks can significantly limit risk of transmission, especially in close settings. Tissues must be used when coughing, sneezing and then disposed.”

He therefore enjoined all citizens to abide strictly by all the protocols on COVID-19 especially the stay-at-home advisory, ban on interstate travel, proper adherence to social distancing.


Blessing Egbo (Senior Information Officer)

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