The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has said that it was very risky to treat COVID-19 patients in private hospitals or at home and advised affected persons to contact the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) through its toll-free lines.
He gave the advice during the briefing of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19.
While stating that non-essential travels should be postponed, the minster expressed the believe that with the 11 molecular diagnostic laboratories, the country is likely to record more positive cases.
“We now have 11 COVID-19 functional laboratories in Nigeria, following two activated in Kano and Jos. We have pre-positioned laboratory testing sample and collection kits nationwide.
“We are making testing more efficient and increasing the volume of testing, so we expect to find more cases.
“We are doing more of smart testing – that is, testing that targets where you are most likely to find the cases.
“The Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH), through the NCDC continues to support response activities in states with new outbreaks, through timely deployment of Rapid Response teams.
“I enjoin states to adhere to the standards advised by the accreditation team and also again advise my professional colleagues that it is very risky to be treating coronavirus patients in private homes or their hospital establishments without IPC (infection prevention and control) training and accreditation.
“The hazard is serious with regard to self-infection and cross infection, evidence of which has manifested in some states.”
Speaking further, Ehanire said the PTF was working on compensation packages for health workers. This he said is to recognise the sacrifices they have made.
“To further motivate the brave healthcare workers” who directly take on the coronavirus challenge.
“It goes beyond the well-known Group Life Insurance for public servants, the routine workmen’s compensation and health workers hazard allowance.
“Details of the new package will be made available later, but we must laud the offer of free Life insurance for 5,000 health workers, donated by a private Insurance Company,” he said.
He, therefore, called for precaution to prevent community transmission, saying those in neighbourhoods with large positive cases, or have symptoms that are suggestive of the infection such as dry cough and fever, can be eligible for testing.
He said the NCDC would soon begin mass testing.
“What’s important is that if you test positive you need to go into isolation for the prescribed period.
“There are people who feel very well and have no symptoms but are well able to transmit the infection. Those are the ones we have troubles with.
“What is going to happen very soon is that the NCDC is preparing to have agreements with certain private-sector collection points in various areas of the town, so that you can go to a sample collection site and have your sample taken.
“First, you will be interviewed if you are eligible, and if you are eligible, your sample will be taken and a vehicle will go round, collect all the samples and do central testing.
That will reduce the work for NCDC and bring in more efficiency and get more people to be tested,” Ehanire said.