ABUJA, Nigeria, June 7, 2020/ — The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has disclosed that only four of the COVID-19 test kits said to be in use in Nigeria have been evaluated by the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria and all four failed the validation tests and results; therefore, “the tests obtained from these kits may be wrong and misleading”.
Dr. Ehanire said, “The NCDC certified laboratories in Nigeria use WHO recognized PCR testing methods which give reliable result. “Though expensive, this option is right and we have 30 laboratories deployed, with the aim of establishing at least one laboratory in every state.”
In view of the failure of some of the test kits in use, the Minister has urged healthcare workers to ensure they are properly protected with the appropriate PPEs and have a high index of suspicion when treating patients. He also advised the general public to continue to adhere to the guidelines on prevention and control of COVID-19.
Further, Dr. Ehanire revealed that there are some COVID-19 medical supplies being expected from Beijing, and to be able to haul in the expected COVID-19 supplies to Abuja, the Honourable Minister of Healthsaid that West Africa Health Organization (WAHO) and Nigeria are presently working together on a cost-sharing plan for a common air transport plane.
These much and more were disclosed by the Honourable Minister at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 Press Briefing on Thursday 4th June, 2020 as the outcome of a virtual meeting of the ECOWAS COVID-19 Ministerial Coordination Committee on Health, hosted by the West African Health Organization (WAHO) and attended by 15 ECOWAS Ministers of Health or their representatives held on Tuesday May 2nd, 2020.
The Ministerial Coordination Committee on Health of WAHO is one of the three Committees set up to facilitate the work of the ECOWAS COVID-19 response champion, in the person of President Muhamadu Buhari, who was elected on April 23, 2020, at a virtual meeting of ECOWAS Heads of State and Governments.
Dr. Ehanire disclosed that the Meeting compared notes, discussed matters of regional cooperation and collaboration around the COVID-19 strategy and response, border-related challenges on movement of people and goods when borders are reopened.
In a similar development, the Honourable Minister disclosed that, he represented President Muhammadu Buhari at a virtual Global Vaccine Summit that was hosted by the UK Prime Minister, Mr. Boris Johnson, the purpose of which, was to mark 20 years since GAVI was founded, and also to raise funds to support its activities.
Speaking further, Dr. Ehanire updated that the nation currently has a total of 11,166 confirmed COVID-19 cases in 35 States and FCT, of which 3,329 have been treated successfully and discharged, while 315 deaths have been recorded. According to him, “the daily epidemic curve of confirmed cases shows a consistently rising trajectory with corresponding increase in fatalities, but nothing comparable with what is observed in some foreign countries. To rest on our oars for that reason, would be a serious mistake. COVID-19 is real and we have explained that the increase in cases is due to improving testing capacity and of activities of other response pillars, such as surveillance, community mobilization, coordination, contact tracing improved awareness, the demographics and other factors.”
The Honourable Minister also updated the nation that the teams deployed to Lagos and Ogun States have returned: They visited the State EOCs, identified State specific challenges and exchanged ideas with health workers.
He added that “the team to Kano, Sokoto, Jigawa Borno, Katsina, Gombe will submit their final reports Friday, 5th June, 2020. The preliminary reports, he said show that the goals of the intervention were met.”