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1 in 2 Covid-19 patients died at home: new analysis shows need for prompt treatment

Boss Mustapha with PTF members inspect one of the isolation facilities in Lagos state.
Boss Mustapha with PTF members inspect one of the isolation facilities in Lagos state.

The Federal Government has said that a curious finding from the analysis of the recorded COVID-19 deaths shows that nearly half of them died at home and showed no symptoms.

“This underscores my earlier emphasis on the need for those who test positive to report for treatment,” said Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire,

“I would also advise those who have taken the test and are awaiting result to heed the advisory to self-isolate from friends, wear face masks and observe hand and respiratory hygiene until your result is releases. By so doing, you will be protecting your family, your friends and your community,” Ehanire said.

He spoke Thursday at the 35th briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

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Easing lockdown

The federal government on May 18 extended easing of lockdown restrictions in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja by two more weeks.

But the lockdown was extended in Kano by 14 more days amidst increasing number of confirmed coronavirus cases.

Some 26 labs spread across 17 states have pushed up daily testing capacity to around 2,500, but government is able to test less than 1,500.

He said, “This is due largely to inadequate surveillance and contact tracing in the states. As more laboratories come on board, I would like to use this opportunity to call on state governments to increase the number of surveillance teams so that more testing can be done in the laboratories.

“We have developed new Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to track surveillance strategic directions and programmes.

“We are careful about our numbers to ensure that the figures we announce are accurate. Sometimes, there are errors, but we correct them as soon as they are noticed.

Health workers infections dip

Ehanire also said that as government scale up training of health workers on infection prevention and control, infection among the nation’s health workers has reduced significantly.

He said, “We have trained the fourth batch of Health Care Workers and Patent and Proprietary Medicine Vendors in Kano State. Training and retraining is a continuous process and we shall sustain the initiative. In addition, the Federal Ministry of Health through Nigeria Center for Disease Control had high level with Hospital Services and Secondary health facilities to improve patients’ management and data qualities. State level Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) trainings working with partners to step down trainings at community level is currently ongoing.”

He said the fact-finding team to Calabar has concluded its assignment is back and a report has been submitted.

He commended Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River for his proactive approach and pledged to work with the state teams to ensure that government scale up surveillance and contact tracing in the state.

He said government shall explore the possibility of upgrading laboratories in the state to ensure ease of testing when suspected cases are identified.

Lagos health workers strike resolved

On threat of strike by Lagos State health workers, the minister said development in Lagos where doctors are restricting their services to between the hours of 8am and 6pm because of the enforcement of the dusk to dawn curfew by security operatives has been resolved.

“I have been in touch with the NMA chairman in Lagos State and the State Commissioner of Health. I wish to thank our doctors and other health workers for their understanding. Our health workers are our foot soldiers and we would ensure that they are able to discharge their duties unhindered,” he said.

The minister said the stay-at-home advisory needs to be more strictly adhered to and citizens need not undercut the ban on interstate travel by hiding in goods trucks.

He added that this is not a battle to be left to government alone but should be a collective responsibility.

 

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