FMOH, Agencies develops new National Action Plan – Dr. Ehanire

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

As a strategy to respond to the imminent phase of covid-19 community transmission, the Federal Ministry of Health and its Agencies are developing the new National Action Plan. This was disclosed by the Honorable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, today, 14th April, 2020 at the Presidential Task Force briefing, where he confirmed a total of 343 cases of covid-19. He stated that, 91 patients had been discharged and 10 deaths had been recorded in Nigeria. He said 20 new cases had been reported from 5 states: Lagos 13, Edo 2, Kano 2, Ogun 2, and Ondo 1. 73% of all recorded cases so far are males and 27% females, he stated also that, the most affected age bracket are between 31-60 years.

Speaking, the Minister said that there was increased daily testing capacity by the activation of more covid-19 capable laboratories that would work with the private sector to outsource and diversify sample collection sites and improve logistic support. He hinted that, details of samples of collection sites would be made known as well as increases in the number of discovered cases in the fallout of improvement in testing capacity.

According to the Health Minister, there is ongoing collation of more epidemiological information on coronavirus disease, such as understanding sources of new cases and planning new lines of action. “We shall continue to aggressively pursue our policy to detect, test and isolate cases”, he said. Adding that, early evidence of community transmission, had reinforced the urgency of physical distancing, use of face masks, maintenance of hand and respiratory hygiene as well as strict adherence to the lockdown measures and regulations as announced by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Dr. Ehanire stressed that these measures would reduce the risks of positive persons carrying the virus from place to place, especially with those who are asymptomatic and may not know they habour coronavirus. He stated also that staying at home would also increase the probability of tracers finding the person of interest when they call.

The Honorable Minister of Health noted that there had been significant progress in contact tracing and had to date followed up 9,029 persons of interest, 99% of whom he said, had exceeded their 14-day observation period. He maintained that, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) had been doing a good job on supporting activities in States with new outbreaks, Rapid Response Teams and also working with the Department of Hospital Services to oversee the establishment of more isolation and treatment centers in line with national guidelines and global best practices.

Dr. Osagie Ehanire stated that, the treatment center accreditation team had set up guidelines for maintenance of operational standards that are to be used in all isolation and treatment centers in public and eligible private health facilities, He reminded practitioners to take utmost precautions of covid-19 as a highly transmissible disease with national security implications. The Accreditation Committee the Minister added would conduct random spot checks to ascertain states of readiness of isolation and critical care centers.

The Minister informed that the Federal Ministry of Health had mapped out areas of need in ICU capacity and would work with NMA, NANNM, the Association of Anesthetists and Critical care physicians and nurses, with the aim of deploying specialists to areas of need in Nigeria. Similarly, he said, the ministry is creating a structured Patient Transport Plan within the new FMoH action plan to be shared with the states “as this is important in the event of the need to transfer patients from one center to another.

The Honorable Minister commended persons, organizations and groups in Nigeria who had put public and even private facilities at the disposal of the Federal Ministry of Health to use as isolation and treatment centers and thanked all health workers, stake holders and development partners, for their commitment and support to the response.

Enefaa Bob-Manuel
DD (Information)
Head Media and Public Relations Unit