Declaration Of Victory On COVID-19 Too Early, Ehanire Warns Nigerians

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The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire on Monday encouraged Nigerians, not to declare victory over COVID-19 too early, says, it is a long haul for which the surest way so far is non-pharmaceutical intervention.

While adding that Nigeria’s vaccine manufacturing aspirations are on track, he said the ministry is working with the Private sector and have the full support of influential, Nigerians outside the country.

Ehanire made this known to the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 Monday in Abuja and warned that surprises are still ahead with the novel Corona virus, as it evolves.

Nigeria is preparing along all established avenues, including participating in research and development. Several Nigerian groups are engaged in genomic sequencing and few in vaccine development, while NIPRID is working on phytomedicines research.

“But the most potent tool so far, to save lives, remains full vaccination in prescribed intervals, which has gone without incident around the world for so long now, that nobody should be having doubts about it’s efficacy anymore. The vaccines we use are trusted, so I urge all citizens to drop their hesitancy and take the vaccines. It is commonplace in many foreign countries now that proof of Covid-19 vaccination is needed before admittance into restaurants, cinemas, nightclubs, even to board aircraft on international flights.

“This trend is intensifying around the world and will, no doubt, begin to take root in Nigeria in due course. I will not be surprised if domestic Nigerian Airlines start to demand vaccination cards, before boarding.
“I advise that, nobody should be left behind in vaccination, lest they face an embarrassing situation”.

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“Nigeria has so far tested a total of 3,392,457 samples, of which 213,147 were confirmed positive for Covid-19, while active cases are 4,447 and cases discharged to date are 205,732. There have sadly been 2,968 covid-related fatalities with a case fatality rate of 1.39%;

“Bed occupancy in the week under review was 16.17% in 86 Isolation wards, and oxygen is widely available, mainly in cylinders, with oxygen concentrators as back up. There is no surge in demand. A review of oxygen situation in 125 treatment centres is ongoing, to also identify non-functional plants for repair.

“Majority of patients (67%) on admission in isolation wards have comorbidities like diabetes, hypertension obesity and other non-communicable diseases, which are known determinants of the severity of Covid-19 illness.

“The same finding has been made in some Eastern European countries where severe waves of Covid-19 are raging presently.

“Despite palpable fatigue among citizens on adherence to COVID-19 preventive protocols, I have hardly encountered any person who didn’t have a face mask. Oddly enough, they would leave their mask on their pocket or handbag and wear it on demand. Others wear it on their chin. “The mask is not helpful anywhere except covering the mouth and nose. Global trends suggest that public health measures like masks and social distancing are still a very useful protection against infection.
“The present infection surge in certain European countries, who already had vaccination over 60%, is proof that full vaccination is no reason to drop our guard, or a guarantee against infection.”

Also, the Director- General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa assured that NCDC will continue to deliver on its mandate to prevent, detect and respond to protect Nigerians from the deleterious impact of diseases of public health importance.

He said; “This has been greatly facilitated by the support of the Federal Government, collaboration with sister agencies and partners. For this ongoing pandemic, the NCDC actions include but are not limited to continued surveillance of cases using the digital surveillance tool, SORMAS nationwide; Support for the network of molecular laboratories set up diagnose COVID-19; Expansion of access to COVID-19 testing through the deployment of validated rapid diagnostic tests to improve surveillance; Management and expansion of the national stockpile for infectious diseases and delivery of needed commodities to support response of our States to outbreaks; and Consistent risk communication to Nigerians and the world at large on the latest national COVID-19 updates whether via social media, our website, these briefings and regular media engagements

Meanwhile, the Dr Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director of National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) said NPHCDA, we are supporting States to establish mass vaccination sites across the Country. There will be expansion of vaccination sites to all public health facilities (primary, secondary, tertiary), inclusion of private health facilities and setting up of mass vaccination sites in populated areas e.g. Universities, College of Education, Polytechnics, Schools of technology, vocational institutions, stadiums, motor parks, town squares, markets, shopping malls, to mention a few. This process will not interrupt the ongoing vaccination services in the public health facilities.

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