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Coronavirus – Nigeria: COVID-19: FG worried over rising deaths associated with co-morbidities

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ABUJA, Nigeria, May 31st, 2020/ — The Federal Government has expressed concern over the rate of deaths from COVID-19 which are associated with other ailments such as hypertension, diabetes, HIV and other diseases. This was made known by the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 Press Briefing on Thursday, 28th of May, 2020.

Dr. Osagie Ehanire said: “We have sadly recorded 254 deaths, most of the persons associated with other ailments; whereas, most of those discharged had no co-morbidities, confirming the general observation that risks are higher for those with illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes and non- communicable diseases.”

He said though it is too early to generalize about mortality trend or even rates of recoveries and discharge, as compared to new cases, but it is time enough to advise that all persons who have, or may be suspected to be hypertensive, diabetic, had treatment for kidney or liver disease, cancer, HIV, TB or even those 60 years and above, are more vulnerable and need to better protect themselves or be protected”, he added.

Dr. Ehanire further stated that the core response strategy of the Federal Ministry of Health, which is based on trace, test, isolate and treat, has yielded visible result as 389 new single-day cases was recorded yesterday, 28th May, 2020 bringing the total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in 34 states and FCT to 8,733 of which 2,501 have been successfully treated and discharged.

The Honourable Minister also reveal that the concern is not just about the increasing number of covid-19 confirmed cases but that every life matters, and also the capacity of our health system to cope, saying Nigeria presently has over 112 treatment and isolation centers in the 35 states and FCT with over 5,000 beds, but not all States have made it up to at least 300 beds prescribed for isolation and treatment. “We need to continue increasing bed capacity to match the probable number of patients, so that we do not experience horrific scenes of bed space shortages seen in some European hospitals.“ The Federal Government is therefore calling on activists and philanthropists to work with State Governments in concerted steps to scale up non-pharmaceutical measures and beef up infrastructural assets for isolation and treatment in their states.

Speaking further, Dr. Ehanire disclosed that Nigeria is participating in the WHO solidarity trial as part of the global efforts to find a cure for COVID-19 and that this trial will be reviewed by the nation’s panel of Experts. He also revealed that Ministry of Health has received the Madagascar herbs and have found it to consist of two varieties; one labeled to be for prevention and the other for treatment. Samples have been given to 3 Agencies of the Ministry and also to Ministry of Science & Technology. These are normal processes for new preparations to be approved for use in Nigeria, and include toxicological and efficacy tests and clinical trials, stressing that Government will investigate all genuine efforts to find home grown solutions to the pandemic.

The Honourable Minister commended the healthcare workers for their service and sacrifices in the fight against the pandemic and urged everyone to do their bids in order to avoid a spike in infection rates. “The responsibility for protecting ourselves and each other is therefore with all of us, hence the urgency for use of masks outside our homes and for social distancing. It is especially important where we have gatherings, like in markets. Until a cure or vaccine is found, prevention is still the best approach to controlling community spread of the virus.”

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